CINCINNATI, OH, USA - Sofia Kenin claimed her second win over a World No.1 in as many weeks after Naomi Osaka was forced to retire due to injury in the third set of their Western & Southern Open quarterfinal, 6-4, 1-6, 2-0 (ret).
“I feel like I'm just having really great wins, you know, beating these top players,” Kenin said in her post-match press conference. “I'm just finding my rhythm while playing really well. Yeah, I couldn't be happier with how things are going.”
Last week in Toronto, Kenin turned heads with her stunning victory over World No.1 Ashleigh Barty in the second round of the Rogers Cup - a result which opened the door for Osaka to return to the top of the rankings this past Monday.
She looked on track to spring another upset over Osaka, edging past the Japanese player to take the opening set 6-4. Osaka struck back in the second with a double break giving her the set 6-1.
“I have lost so many second sets after winning first sets, so it's nothing new,” Kenin said of her second-set letdown. “Just have to regroup, and I'm playing No.1 in the world, so I have to go out there and fight and leave it all on the court.”
But in the decider, Osaka ultimately found herself forced to retire just two games into the final set. Kenin broke the defending US Open champion to take a 2-0 lead, but after a medical time out, Osaka was unable to continue the match due to a left knee injury - sending Kenin into the Cincinnati semifinals for the first time.
“Just unfortunate today,” Kenin sympathized. “She felt bad. I just wish her a speedy recovery.”
Paired with her win over Barty last week, the victory today also gives Kenin a unique place in WTA No.1 ranking history: it’s the first time since October 2001 that any player has defeated a No.1-ranked player in consecutive weeks. Back then, Lindsay Davenport defeated the top-ranked Martina Hingis in Filderstadt, via a first set retirement, and then a week later took down Jennifer Capriati in Zurich.
Into her second consecutive Premier 5 semifinal, Kenin will contest an all-American clash tomorrow and awaits the winner between No.16 seed Madison Keys and Venus Williams.
“I played Maddie at Rome. It was obviously pretty dramatic,” she assessed. “Atmosphere was unreal there. It was so good. It's going to be a tough one. She's playing well, and I have a lot of respect for her.
“Venus I have never played, unfortunately. If I play her it's going to be an interesting matchup, an experience to not forget because whenever you play Serena or Venus it's a different experience.”