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‘I just feel like I played really well’ – Kenin

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AMERICAN Sofia Kenin kicked off action from the Camellia Group at the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over compatriot Alison Riske.

  Never losing serve, or even facing a break point, over the course of one hour and 14 minutes, Kenin scored a love break of Riske’s serve in each set to decide the result.

  The 20-year-old broke her elder compatriot in the fifth game of the opener, and did the same in the third game of the second set to score victory in the first-ever meeting between the two Americans.

  “I just feel like I played really well, I served well. Ali is a tough player, she’s had a really good year and it wasn’t easy for me to play her, we’re really good friends and she’s really nice,” Kenin said after the match.

  “It was just a really tough match, but I just tried to put it behind me. I just feel like I knew the way she was playing.

  “I practiced with her a few times, and I used what did I wrong during practice to improve during my match. I’m really happy with the performance.”

  Kenin now leading the pack in the Camellia group, the American duo will next face Czech, Karolina Muchova in each of their respective matches to determine who will advance out into the knockout rounds.

  “I’m really honoured to be here. Actually, in the middle of the year I didn’t even know about this tournament, so then my dad’s like, ‘Oh, you know, if you’re going to be Top 20 or something then you’ll be able to play Zhuhai.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, why did you tell me that, more pressure on me,'” Kenin said.

  “I think it’s a really good experience, I’m really happy to be here and it’s an honour. It’s a lot of top players, everyone’s really good here and everyone’s going to fight for their position.”

  Excelling from the line over the course of the match, Kenin dropped just 12 points in 10 service games overall in the victory, and won 84 per cent of the points played behind her first serve.

  “I didn’t serve this well in practice. I felt like I adjusted to her game tactically, what she does, how she likes to serve, where, and I think I did a good job covering it,” Kenin continued.

  “Of course, she served aces, because she has really good serves, but I feel like I just somehow just adjusted to her game.

  “It wasn’t like in practice, in practice I usually am like not really stable when I play her, so I’m really happy to play more stable today. It’s good.”

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