Australian Open 2020: Fearless Sofia Kenin lifts women's singles crown
The penultimate day of the Australian Open 2020 witnessed great drama and emotion as a new women's singles champion emerged, while a former World No. 1 held back tears after having fallen at the final hurdle.
Sofia Kenin has grown from a tennis prodigy to a Grand Slam champion, and the 21-year-old is all set to break into the top ten of the women's singles rankings.
The Russian-born American got past former Wimbledon and French Open champion Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, in little over two hours to claim her first-ever Grand Slam title.
Muguruza, who was unseeded at this year's Australian Open, surprised many by making it to the finals after getting the better of fourth-seed Simona Halep in the semifinals.
The 26-year-old, who is now being coached by Conchita Martinez, began in style, taking the first set, but got increasingly error-prone as the contest progressed.
After getting a foot in the door by breaking the Spaniard's serve, Kenin did not need a second invitation as she seized the initiative and won the second set in just over half an hour.
Muguruza's serve was broken, yet again, in the third set which seemed to dent her confidence, leading to a string of disastrous double faults which took the sting out of the contest and allowed Kenin to run away with the match.
The 21-year-old, who became the youngest Australian Open champion since Maria Sharapova in 2008, congratulated Garbine and thanked her father while delivering the winning speech.
The fifteenth-seed, who had earlier defeated teenage sensation Coco Gauff and top-seed Ashleigh Barty, was a lot more thorough than her opponent, who had been tipped to win the crown by virtue of having had the experience of playing Grand Slam finals in the past.
Yet, it was Kenin who looked fearless and composed in her maiden Grand Slam title clash as she unleashed some breathtaking winners from the baseline, while Muguruza seemed to wilt under pressure, committing one last double fault on the championship point which summed up her night.
Thanks to the win, Kenin will now break into the top ten of the WTA women's singles rankings.
Published 01 Feb 2020, 17:59 IST