The final of the San Diego Open is set. Barbora Krejcikova and Sofia Kenin, who both entered with wildcards, will fight for the title and 500 points.
Kenin went into the tournament at world number 93, but the live rankings after winning the semifinal match already have her leapfrogging to number 53. Krejcikova has seen a three-point bump to tenth in the live rankings and to thirteenth in the live Race rankings. While it is a long shot this late in the season, it is still possible for the Czech to book a spot in Cancun.
Krejcikova reached the final with a 3-6 7-6 6-2 victory over Danielle Collins. With this win, she is 15-4 against Americans. The two had never played each other before, and the 2021 French Open champion needed the first set to feel out her opponent and try to find her serve. Collins began to slow down in the second set, and took a medical timeout early in the third from which the 29-year-old returned with a taped-up leg.
Speaking with press after the match, Krejcikova said, “In the second, I knew that I have to fight and I have to go for every point and try to stay with her. I was just very happy that I was able to break her at 6-5. And then in the third set, I felt that I was just improving with every single point.”
Kenin booked her spot in the final with a 6-2 5-7 6-4 victory over fellow American Emma Navarro. The two fought hard for 2:10 hours, but in the end, experience won.
Despite the tough loss, the qualifier, who just recently dedicated herself to the tour after playing in college, is proud of everything she accomplished at the tournament. The 22-year-old told media, “I can hang with a lot of the best players in the world […] overall I’ve played a lot of good tennis this week and am hoping to go into the next week with just a bit of confidence knowing that I can play well in big moments and go for big shots.”
Following the tough victory, Kenin rushed over to her box without giving an on-court interview. It was later explained to media that the 24-year-old had completely lost her voice. Having cheered herself on during the match with shouts “davai,” a Russian equivalent to “come on” or “vamos,” it was not a surprise. She did come to speak to press after, but kept answers as brief as possible. When Women’s Tennis Blog asked what to expect from the final match, the answer was short and sweet: “I expect to try my very best and see what happens.”
Krejcikova and Kenin have played only once before. The Czech won the second-round match of the 2021 Rome tournament 6-1 6-4, the same year she would go on to win the French Open.