Kenin battles past Stosur to claim Guangzhou crown

FILE PHOTO - Aug 30, 2019; Flushing, NY, USA; Sofia Kenin of the USA hits to Madison Keys of the USA the third round on day five of the 2019 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - American Sofia Kenin fought back from a set down to overcome former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur 6-7(4) 6-4 6-2 and win the Guangzhou International Women’s Open title on Saturday.

It was the third title of the season for 20-year-old Kenin following triumphs in Hobart and Mallorca but the third seed was made to work hard by the Australian wildcard, playing in her first singles final in 2-1/2 years.

Kenin raced to a 4-2 lead before the 35-year-old Stosur, who has dropped to 129th in the world rankings, rallied to win the opening set on a tiebreak.

World number 20 Kenin, who reached the last 16 at the French Open this year, found herself two games away from defeat at 4-4 in the second set but switched gears to drag the match into a decider.

Stosur was unable to match the intensity of her younger rival and her hopes of a first singles title since her victory in Strasbourg two years ago faded as Kenin raced to a 5-1 lead before closing out the match on serve.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond