It wasn’t easy, but Sofia Kenin pulled off the biggest upset of this year’s Rogers Cup presented by National Bank.
The World No. 29 took down the top-seed Ashleigh Barty by winning a tense three-setter 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4. Having secured one of the biggest victories of her career, Kenin becomes the youngest American to defeat a reigning World No.1 since 2011 (McHale d. Wozniacki – Cincinnati).
The 20 year old from Florida had entered the match having lost three times to the Australian, all of which have taken place over the last 16 months. The American had her chances in the first set. She broke Barty on her second-service game during a stretch that saw Kenin win 12 of 13 points.
However, the World No. 1 would rally from behind. She consolidated the break at 5-5 and forced a tiebreaker. From there, Kenin did all she could to try and take the first set. With Barty leading the tiebreak 6-3, the Floridian saved two set points before the Aussie was successful on her third try.
However, Kenin came roaring back in the second set. She jumped up to a comfortable 4-0 lead, before holding off a charge from the Australian. After giving up a break, Kenin returned the favour. The American converted a break point of her own to jump in front 5-3. She would then hold serve to force a decisive set. She was particularly dominant serving in the second set – winning 85% of her first-service points.
Kenin continued to cause Barty fits in the third set. The World No. 29 once again scored a big 4-1 lead by converting two break point opportunities. She was then forced to survive another rally from the World No. 1. Trailing 5-3, Barty managed to save three match points and hold serve to put the pressure back on Kenin.
The American however would deliver what was needed. She put home a forehand winner to secure match point, before Barty sent a forehand long securing Kenin her first career win against the reigning French Open champion.
It marks the fourth time this season that Kenin has defeated a Top 10 player. Most recently, she defeated Serena Williams at Roland-Garros before losing to Barty in the round of 16. Kenin will next face the winner of Victoria Azarenka and Dayana Yastremska in the third round.