Lots of new champions in women’s tennis
Kenin and the trophy!
Your champion, Sofia Kenin
Sofia Kenin: This is my first speech, so I am going to try my best. My dream officially came true and I can’t even describe this feeling... if you have a dream, go for it and it is going to come true.
Muguruza had a great tournament
Muguruza was so good through the tournament but she just wasn’t able to dominate the points today. Still, a welcome return to the top for the Spaniard.
It hasn’t always been easy
Kenin has been around...
Kenin beats Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Kenin had 15 unforced errors in the first set and just four each in the second and third sets. She raised her game while Muguruza crumbled under the pressure.
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
A stunning match for Kenin!
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
Two double faults helped Kenin level it at 40-40. And then a second serve allowed Kenin to take control of the point and get a championship point. Muguruza brought it back to deuce. But then a return winner got Kenin a second chance to win the championship. And a double fault gave it to her.
Sofia Kenin joins the greats, the 21-year-old has become the Australian Open champion.
*Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 5-2
Kenin is a mental beast. She is simply unaffected by everything happening around her. She continues to remain steady and do the right things. She is now one game away from becoming the Australian Open champion.
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 4-2
Kenin has the break!
The Spaniard had the advantage but Kenin, as she has had all evening, fought back to take the gave. Muguruza not managing to get the last game out of her mind and focus on what’s in front of her. She gave the game away with a double fault.
*Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 3-2
An unforced error gave Muguruza three break points but another backhand down-the-line helped Kenin save the first one. And then she did it again – to save the second. And then she came up with a winner with a forehand down the line. What fight! Deuce. And then she sealed it with another passing shot. What a huge hold!!
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 2-2
A superb down-the-line backhand made it 15-30 but Muguruza got in a solid first serve to make it 30-30. And then an ace down the T made it 40-30. She eventually held with ease. The Spaniard is getting 90% of her first serves in the third set and that is making a difference.
*Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 2-1
Kenin’s consistency has gone up and she is making Muguruza work very hard for each point. This stays on serve but it feels as if the American has the momentum. Muguruza seems to be more vulnerable at the moment.
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 1-1
Muguruza starting to go for her shots, just as she did against Halep. Easy hold. The battle has been joined again?
*Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 1-0
Kenin seems to be getting stronger as the match goes on. Muguruza needs to find a way to raise her level.
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2
Just 4 unforced errors for Kenin in the entire second set, as against 8 winners. Muguruza also had 8 winners but she made 11 unforced errors.
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2
Kenin breaks Muguruza again to take the match into the third and deciding set. Outstanding grit shown by the American. Muguruza just looking a little soft there, she needs to get her head back in the game.
*Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-6, 5-2
Earlier in the match, Muguruza was dominating the rallies. But Kenin has slowly worked her way back into the match – she is standing closer to the baseline and stepping in more now. The young American is one game away from taking the set. Muguruza will serve to stay in the set.
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 4-2
Muguruza just isn’t firing any more. She has gone off the boil but she will need to rediscover her focus to put Kenin under pressure. This hold will help.
*Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-6, 4-1
Kenin has raised the intensity, shortened the backswing. She is taking the ball early and not allowing Muguruza to get set for her groundstrokes. She backs up her break with an easy hold.
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 3-1
30-30. Kenin slowly seems to be becoming a little more dominant and forcing Muguruza back. Another nice backhand drive got her a breakpoint. The Spaniard sent a backhand long to hand the break to the 21-year-old American. Here we go!
*Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-6, 2-1
Another easy hold for Kenin – 12 straight points to the server in the second set. Both players serving better now.
Kenin vs *Muguruza: 4-6, 1-1
When Muguruza gets her serve right, she is hard to stop. It allows her to take the initiative in the point and Kenin has not been able to find the answer yet. The Spaniard holds with her fourth ace of the match.
*Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-6, 1-0
Solid hold for Kenin, just what she needed to start the second set. This will allow her to focus on Muguruza’s service game even more.
Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-6*
When Muguruza made her first serve, it made a huge difference to the point and that is something Kenin needs to address in the second set.
Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-6*
Solid serving game and Muguruza got herself up to 40-15. And then Kenin sent a forehand wide to give the first set to the Spaniard. It was a scrap and took 52 minutes.
Kenin vs Muguruza: *4-5
And Muguruza breaks right back. She is scrapper too. The Spaniard will serve for the first set next. Her aggression working and she needs to stay aggressive. Three breaks of serve in this first set already.
Kenin vs Muguruza: 4-4*
A double fault gave Kenin two break points. And then another double fault gave her the game. Muguruza’s serve abandoned her there. Pressure? Nerves? We are back on serve.
Kenin vs Muguruza: *3-4
A lucky net cord gave Muguruza a 0-30 lead. And then a big forehand made it 0-40. Three break points. Kenin saved the first one with a backhand down the line – this has been her go-to shot so far. Muguruza sent the next one long to make it 40-30. But then a nice aggressive point helped Kenin make it 40-40. But then a shot into the net gave Muguruza another break point but Kenin saved it again. And then got the advantage. Then, the game went to deuce again before a lovely drop shot gave Kenin another game point and then she forced an error to hold her serve. A huge hold this, keeps her in the set.
Kenin vs Muguruza: 2-4*
Muguruza is using all her height to send down some solid serves and that got her a 30-0 lead. But when she does miss, Kenin goes for it. The American made it 15-30 with her 4th winner of the match so far and then followed it up with another passing shot to make it 30-30. But Muguruza scrambled all over court to win a 23-shot rally and earn a game point. Kenin, however, was not going away. She fought back to make it deuce. This is exactly what she did against Barty too – refused to go away.
Muguruza eventually managed to hold. It wasn’t easy. But she has the break and keeps her nose ahead.
Kenin vs Muguruza: *2-3
Muguruza is moving well and gaining in confidence with every point. The depth on her groundstrokes has been exceptional and she is putting Kenin under a lot of pressure. The 21-year-old American manages to hold with her back to the wall. The Spaniard is still up a break.
Kenin vs Muguruza: 1-3*
A double fault while leading 30-15, allowed Kenin to level the game at 30-30. Before a wide serve allowed the Spaniard to get another game point. Kenin got it back to deuce with another wonderful backhand. But Muguruza, who came into the tournament unseeded, finally managed to consolidate the break.
Kenin vs Muguruza: 1-2*
Muguruza gets the break!
Muguruza jumped to a 0-30 lead before Kenin made it 30-30. And then an unforced error by Muguruza off a nice slice from Kenin gave the American a game point which was quickly squashed by Muguruza. Deuce. Muguruza earned her first breakpoint but then Kenin saved it with an awesome down the line backhand that just caught the line. Deuce. But eventually, the Spaniard gets the break. Her ball striking is proving to be the difference.
Kenin vs Muguruza: 1-1
Kenin moving very well and striking the ball well too. She looks like she has started better. Muguruza will feel she has a good chance too – she is more experienced and is a Grand Slam champion too. Kenin was up 0-30 but the Spaniard found her rhythm after that with some good serves to win four points in a row.
Kenin vs Muguruza: 1-0
This match is all going to be about Muguruza’s shots against Kenin’s defence. A lot of balls are going to come back, as they did against Halep. Can Muguruza stay the course? Easy hold for Kenin to start things off.
The players are taking the court now. Kenin looked pretty relaxed in the tunnel and Muguruza was seen chatting with Conchita Martinez. Will they be able to bring their A game to the final?
Unexpected but it’s happening
American 14th seed Sofia Kenin ended the run of home favourite and world No 1 Ashleigh Barty while unseeded Garbine Muguruza out-hit fourth seed Simona Halep under a hot Melbourne sun to set up a final not many would have seen coming a few days back… or even a day back.
Paths to the final
1st rd: bt Shelby Rogers (USA) 0-6, 6-1, 6-0
2nd rd: bt Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
3rd rd: bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x5) 6-1, 6-2
4th rd: bt Kiki Bertens (NED x16) 6-3, 6-3
5th rd: bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x30) 7-5, 6-3
Semi-final: bt Simona Halep (ROM x4) 7-6 (10/8), 7-5
1st rd: bt Martina Trevisan (ITA) 6-2, 6-4
2nd rd: bt Ann Li (USA) 6-1, 6-3
3rd rd: bt Zhang Shuai (CHN) 7-5, 7-6 (9/7)
4th rd: bt Coco Gauff (USA) 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-0
5th rd: bt Ons Jabeur (TUN) 6-4, 6-4
Semi-final: bt Ashleigh Barty (AUS x1) 7-6 (8/6), 7-5
Muguruza: Age - 26; World ranking - 32; Prize money - $19,270,804; Career titles - 7; Grand Slam titles - 2; Australian Open best - Final (2020)
Muguruza has roared back to form after a wretched second half of 2019 in which she failed to win two matches in a row.
She climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in the off-season and, crucially, reunited with fellow Spaniard and fellow former Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez as her coach.
Kenin: Age - 21; World ranking - 15; Prize money - $2,959,382; Career titles - 3; Grand Slam titles - 0; Australian Open best - Final (2020)
Kenin was born in Moscow and moved to the United States with her family as a small girl, eventually settling in Florida after starting out in New York.
Enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2019, reaching a career-high 12 and winning three WTA titles.
Tough American Sofia Kenin stands between Garbine Muguruza and a third Grand Slam title in today’s Australian Open women’s final after a tournament of twists and turns that has defied all expectations.
Few would have predicted that either Kenin or Muguruza, who has spent the past six months in a tailspin, would reach the final but they have fought their way through to stand one win from glory.
The feisty Kenin shocked Australia’s world number one Ashleigh Barty in the semi-finals, dashing home hopes, while Muguruza outgunned an in-form Simona Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion.
Along the way, Serena Williams’ bid for a record-equalling 24th Major win fell flat in the third round, and 15-year-old Coco Gauff beat defending champion Naomi Osaka before going out to Kenin.
Moscow-born Kenin, 21, has so far lived in the shadows of her more illustrious compatriots but she will become the top-ranked American if she wins on her first appearance in a Grand Slam final.
Meanwhile Muguruza, after reuniting with coach Conchita Martinez, has rediscovered the form that deserted her in the second half of last season, when she only won one match in six tournaments.
The final, a rematch of their first-round match in Beijing in September, which Kenin won in three sets, promises plenty of aggression with both players thriving on taking the initiative.
“Of course I want to do the first punches. I don’t want to be in defence against her,” Kenin said.
“She can really put the ball away. She’s really aggressive. So I feel like it’s going to be who’s controlling the points more, who is dictating.”
‘It’s a lot about confidence’
Spain’s Muguruza, who won the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon, arrived unseeded for the first time at a Grand Slam since 2014, and suffering from a virus to boot.
She promptly lost her first set 0-6 against qualifier Shelby Rogers but after recovering to win the next two sets 6-1, 6-0 she has not looked back, beating top-10 seeds Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens in consecutive rounds.
The 26-year-old said her returning confidence had been a key factor in her ability to come through tight matches like the semi-final, when she fought back from behind in both sets against Halep.
“I guess maybe structuring better the points, using more my weapons. It’s literally a half-second or one shot the difference. It’s very delicate,” Muguruza said.
“It’s also a lot about confidence, the way you’re playing. Yeah, just a mix of that.”
Muguruza barely celebrated reaching her first Australian Open final, indicating her eyes were already on a much bigger prize on Saturday – when she will start as the favourite.
However, after a tournament that has made a mockery of predictions, she will be wary of one more plot twist on Rod Laver Arena.
“Definitely the mission is to get away from here with a big trophy,” Muguruza said.
“But at the end the racquet has to speak out there. Doesn’t matter how many Grand Slams you have, it’s a tennis match,” she added.
“Even if you have 15 Grand Slams, you go out there and you have somebody that can beat you. I’ll take into consideration my previous experiences, but doesn’t guarantee anything.”