PARIS, France -- Sofia Kenin may have come up one match short of her ultimate goal at Roland Garros, but the American will still look back on her 2020 season as one of splendid success.
"I mean, a lot of positives for sure," Kenin said, during her post-match press conference, reflecting upon her breakthrough year where she is 16-2 in the Grand Slam events. "I think that's pretty good," Kenin said of that superlative stat.
No.4 seed Kenin was last in the line during Iga Swiatek's romp to the Roland Garros title without surrendering a set, after the Pole completed the event with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over the American.
Kenin, while "obviously a little bit disappointed and upset," was full of praise for her opponent. "[Swiatek] obviously played a really good match. She's, like, really hot right now, playing some really great tennis."
"I feel like she served really well," Kenin continued, reviewing the match. "She dictated really well with her forehand. Especially in the first set, a few shots here and there just didn't go my way."
"The spinny forehand, it obviously doesn't look like it's so difficult, but it has so much spin, it bounces up," Kenin added. "It's obviously going to my backhand. I missed a few backhands cross when I had the chances. It's not an easy shot.
"She has a really good backhand down the line, she went a few times behind me. The dropshot went also well for her. She served big on some points. Yeah, I mean, she fought really well. She's had a great run, great tournament."
Making it to the final was a feat in and of itself for Kenin, who had never made a WTA-level quarterfinal on clay in her career before this fortnight. Previously, her best-ever clay-court showing at WTA-level was her run to the round of 16 in Paris last year, where she defeated Serena Williams before falling to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty.
"I wish I would have won, but I'm just happy that I got to where I am now," said Kenin, who was overwhelmed by Victoria Azarenka in her preceding clay-court event in Rome.
"In Rome, lost bagel, let's just say it like that, and then I'm able to get to the [Roland Garros] finals," Kenin added. "I think it's a good result for me. Of course, I'm quite disappointed I didn't get the title, but overall I'm going to take the positives."
Despite the loss on Saturday, Kenin has to review the interrupted season as a crowning achievement. The 21-year-old is the only woman to have reached two Grand Slam singles finals during 2020, with her Roland Garros finalist showing preceded by her brilliant triumph at the Australian Open, where she hoisted her first-ever Grand Slam trophy after defeating Garbiñe Muguruza in the final.
"Obviously I'm playing some really good tennis at the Slams," said Kenin, who defeated World No.1 and homeland hope Ashleigh Barty in the Australian Open semifinals. "In Australia, I won. US Open, I got to the fourth round, had a tough one against Elise Mertens. Here, getting to the finals. Overall, it's a good ratio in the Grand Slams. I feel like I'm playing some really good tennis."
"Of course, Australia was very special," Kenin continued. "First Grand Slam title, so it was really special. I really miss Melbourne, by the way."
With Paris in the books, Kenin is projected to return to her previous career-high ranking of World No.4 on Monday, up from her current ranking of World No.6. The American can also look forward to hitting some stores as she wraps up her season and exits the tournament bubble.
"I feel like I've been in the bubble for, like, months," said the top-ranked American. "It's been only a few tournaments."
"That's what I'm going to do, I'm going to shop," Kenin smiled.
In the WTA landscape, 21-year-old Kenin is at the forefront of a cohort of youngsters who have achieved at the highest level over the past couple of seasons. 22-year-old Naomi Osaka picked up her third Grand Slam title at the US Open last month, while 20-year-old Bianca Andreescu earned her first major at last year's US Open, as she continues to aim for a return to the tour after injuries.
Now, 19-year-old Iga Swiatek joins them in the list of phenomenal young major winners who are poised to contend for more Grand Slam titles.
"I think it's great, a new generation coming up," said Kenin. "It's a bit more competition on us, the top players, so obviously sometimes we may not like that. We obviously want to keep our generation and not let the youngsters take over. But it's always good to see youngsters taking over and playing great tennis."
"Yeah, a great generation," Kenin confirmed, regarding the next group of stars who will potentially join her in the elite. "We have to get ready and prepare because they're going to play better against us."
Of course, Kenin noted that she's still fully ensconced in that group. "I'm just speaking, I guess, on their behalf," said the American. "No, I'm 21. I'm a youngster. I'm still in the generation. I'm fine, just to clarify!" she laughed.