World No. 5, Sofia Kenin claimed the inaugural Lyon title with a 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory over Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam on Sunday.
Kenin became the first player to win multiple WTA titles this season, adding the Lyon crown to her Australian Open triumph from earlier in the season.
The American had endured a poor run of results after her stunning Australian Open success, and arrived Lyon on a three-match losing streak, but she battled back to form in Lyon, overcoming a series of three-setters to claim her fifth career title.
“I had two tough losses but I knew I needed to regroup, and I’m so happy that I won it,” said Kenin, who had suffered successive opening round exits in Dubai and Doha. “Every match was a close one and I had to really fight through – every player I played put up a tough fight against me, and I was able to play my game which was good. I’m happy that I came here – it was a good decision from my side… I wanted to get enough match play going into Indian Wells and Miami.”
An eventful tournament began with a relatively straightforward 6-3 6-4 victory over Vitalia Diatchenko, but the top seed flirted with elimination in the second round against the unheralded Romanian, whom she trailed by a set and 3-5. Kenin fought back from that deficit, saving a match point in the process, before claiming a 6-7 7-5 6-4 victory.
She again needed three sets to see off Frenchwoman, Oceane Dodin in the quarter finals, despite leading 6-1 5-2 at a point, while she survived three tie breaks in an epic semi-final against Alison Van Uytvanck to advance to her sixth tour-level final.
Serving at 81% and losing just five points on serve, Kenin dominated the opening set against Friedsam in Sunday’s final, and she seemingly tightened her grip on the match when she broke again in the opening game of the second set. However, Friedsam hit back immediately, before grabbing a late break in the tenth game of the set to force a decider.
Kenin regrouped impressively, racing out to a 4-1 double break lead in the final set. She surrendered one of the breaks but maintained her lone break advantage till the end, sealing the win on her third match point after an hour and 49 minutes.
She clinches it, 6-2 4-6, 6-4 over Friedsam. pic.twitter.com/svYL01G04t
— WTA (@WTA) March 8, 2020
Next up for Kenin are the Premier Mandatory tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami, with Indian Wells set to begin on Wednesday, 11 March.