Fixture: (4) Sofia Kenin vs Iga Swiatek
Date: 10 October 2020
Tournament: Roland Garros 2020
Venue: Paris, France
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Red clay
Prize money: Approx. €38,000,000
Match timing: 3 pm CEST, 6.30 pm IST
Live telecast: USA - NBC / Tennis Channel | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Sofia Kenin vs Iga Swiatek preview
Fourth seed Sofia Kenin will look to win her second Major title of the year when she takes on World No. 54 Iga Swiatek in the final of the French Open 2020 on Saturday.
The younger generation has truly come of age at this Slam, with the 21-year-old Kenin and the 19-year-old Swiatek setting up the first 21-and-under Roland Garros women's final since 2003. But the path to the final couldn't have been more contrasting for the two youngsters.
Having been crushed in the fourth round of the French Open last year, Iga Swiatek made amends in spectacular fashion. The teenager has absolutely torn through the draw this year, dropping just 23 games in six matches en route to becoming the first Polish woman in the Open Era to make the final in Paris.
On Saturday Swiatek will look to emulate four-time French Open champion Justine Henin, who blazed to the title in 2007 without dropping a set.
The 2018 junior Wimbledon champion is yet to win a title on the WTA Tour, but her sizzling run to the French Open final belies her age and inexperience. The self-confessed Rafael Nadal fan has been striking the ball fearlessly this fortnight, refusing to let the big stage overwhelm her.
Working with sports psychologist Daria Abramowicz has contributed to developing Swiatek's composure under pressure, and she has used that to devastating effect in Paris.
The Pole dismantled the title favorite and top seed Simona Halep with consummate ease in the fourth round, almost reversing her lopsided defeat at the same stage and to the same opponent last year. The poise and conviction in Swiatke's game during her 6-1, 6-2 victory over the former champion made for a truly breathtaking show.
After easing past Argentine qualifier Nadia Podoroska 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals, Swiatek will hope to bring that same confidence against Sofia Kenin and cross that one last hurdle.
By contrast, the journey has been far from easy for the reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin. The Moscow-born American arrived in Paris with less than ideal preparation, having been double-bagelled by Victoria Azarenka in Rome just a week earlier.
The struggle continued through the early rounds of her Roland Garros campaign, as Kenin lost a set in four out of her first five matches. But the World No. 6 has done a terrific job of summoning the champion in her whenever she has faced trouble.
Kenin's never-say-attitude and remarkable fighting spirit have been the pillars of her success, and she now finds herself just one win away from her second Major title of the season.
The American's ability to rise above the challenges paid rich dividends when she faced two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova in the semifinals. Having taken just one set off the Czech in two previous meetings, Kenin was the obvious underdog on Thursday. But that didn't deter her in the slightest.
Employing a clearly-defined strategy right from the start, the determined Kenin never gave the 11th seed a chance to settle down. She was smart, sharp and incredibly quick, ticking all the right boxes to score a 6-4, 7-5 win in a display for the ages.
Such a comprehensive victory over an accomplished opponent would undoubtedly have boosted Kenin's confidence as she looks to bag her third crown of the year - to add to her titles earned in Melbourne and Lyon.
Sofia Kenin vs Iga Swiatek head-to-head
This will be the first meeting between Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek on the tour, so their head-to-head currently stands at 0-0. However, the two did face each other at the junior level, in the third round of Roland Garros 2016, where Swiatek emerged victorious 6-4, 7-5.
Sofia Kenin vs Iga Swiatek prediction
Iga Swiatek's deadly serve-and-forehand combination has been her biggest weapon so far in Paris. The Pole has played aggressively at all times, blowing her opponents off the court with her power; Swiatek has struck a whopping 150 winners against just 110 unforced errors this fortnight.
At one point in the tournament she was even hitting her groundstrokes at the same average speed as US Open champion Dominic Thiem.
Swiatek's backhand is not as big as her forehand, but she is very much capable of hitting winners off that wing too. The teenager has also shown terrific footwork on the red dirt, along with the ability to finish off points at the net when required.
Sofia Kenin's inch-perfect hitting against Petra Kvitova, meanwhile, gave a wonderful demonstration of her immense talent. With every part of her game firing in unison, the American kept Kvitova moving all around the court before ripping a winner the moment she got an opening.
Kenin's serve is usually not her biggest weapon, but her smart placement on that shot repeatedly got her out of trouble. The 21-year-old denied Kvitova as many as 10 break points, often surprising the World No. 2 with her depth and precision.
Another element of Kenin's game that stands out is her efficient use of drop shots, which earned her rich rewards against Kvitova.
After a superlative semifinal performance, Sofia Kenin will be looking to take her momentum into the summit clash too. And with a Grand Slam title already under her belt, the American is expected to have an edge over the inexperienced Iga Swiatek.
The teenager looks highly motivated right now, and she certainly has the tools to take the attack to Kenin. But the American's mental fortitude and ability to play the big points well could make a big difference.
Prediction: Sofia Kenin to win in three sets.Published 09 Oct 2020, 02:24 IST