January 12, 2019 / 4:40 AM / 5 months ago

Tennis - Kenin overpowers Schmiedlova in Hobart for maiden title

(Reuters) - Big-hitting American Sofia Kenin thrived in blustery conditions at the Hobart International to beat Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-3 6-0 and claim her first WTA title on Saturday.

Kenin, 20, had breezed through the tournament without dropping a set, but was put under early pressure by Schmiedlova yet still saved eight of the nine break point opportunities she offered up.

After battling to hold to 2-2 in the first set, she broke Schmiedlova’s serve in the fifth game and while the Slovakian broke straight back, Kenin began dictating play from the baseline and won the next nine games to wrap up the match in 71 minutes on her second championship point.

“It feels amazing,” Kenin said. “I’m so happy with my start (to 2019),” she added in reference to also winning the doubles title with Eugenie Bouchard in Auckland last week.

“I’m just going to try to keep the momentum going and hopefully I can break into the top 20 by the end of this year.”

Schmiedlova struggled with her serve in the windy conditions, winning just 43 percent of her first serves and 31 percent of her second, and was left ruing letting Kenin off the hook.

“I’m extremely happy that I could be in the final. Today didn’t go as I hoped it would go, but congratulations to Sofia, she played really well,” Schmiedlova said.

“I had a few chances, especially in the beginning of the first set but she played better today.”

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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