Sofia Kenin: She thinks and doesn’t give up

Sofia Kenin

Many players leap into the second week of a Grand Slam, and they are on fire. But, when they get on the court, they realize that, all of a sudden, they have to play ever better to upset the terrific competitors. Sofia Kenin actually did it during Australian Open over two weeks, sputtering at times, but not during the three sets she played. Mentally, she focused, she changed things up, and she went for it, with her hard and deep forehand and her backhand. She thinks, she doesn’t give up, and she actually breathes.

Of course, almost all of the top players want to achieve No. 1. They all visualize it in their heads, when they are about to go to sleep: celebrating.

Kenin knew that when she finally became very consistent and aggressive she was ready to grab it. She did over 14 days. But now, she has a number of challenges during the next few months on hard courts. It will be fascinating to see how she recovers at Indian Wells and Miami, the two of the most important upcoming events. It is critical that she continues her strong play.

Ash Barty had a very good tournament at the AO. A lot of people thought that she would win for the first time, but she still has to improve her second serve, her return and her backhand with more topspin. If she does, she will win a Slam this year….

Naomi Osaka is a tremendous ball striker, and she can whip it. But, once and a while, she can be very erratic. She is thoughtful, and she is honest, but she has to grow up more. She just has to mature or she won’t grab the No. 1 this year.

Two veterans lost, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova. Halep has won two Slams, so she does get hurt a lot, but coming up over the next five months, she will win a few events, good ones, too. However, even though the Czech Pliskova can look terrific outside of the Slams, but once at the big events, she forgets her successful strategies. That is why she has not won a major. Can she actually do it this year? I have no idea anymore.

The 15-year-old American Cori Gauff had a fine event. She is doing that regularly now. She wants to play all the time. She is very young, and she doesn’t want to sit down. She is an ambitious kid.

On some weeks, Madison Keys is finding in the corners. She is a huge hitter, and she can nail it on her first serves. But, on court, she can get frustrated and she stops thinking. She lost in the third round at the AO. She just has to forget about it.