Sofia Kenin wins maiden Grand Slam title
Sofia Kenin yesterday defeated Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 4/6; 6/2; 6/2 to win her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. In the semi-finals, the 21-year-old Kenin defeated the top seeded Ashleigh Barty in a major upset in Melbourne Park.
Muguruza won the first game of the match on her serve but conceded the third game and her opponent stretched the lead to 3-1. The Spanish lady delivered an ace and clinched a 23-sot rally to lead 4-2. Kenin saved four break points to win serve on the seventh game and took her opponent’s serve level 4 games apiece. However, she also lost her serve and Muguruza served for the set 6-4.
Muguruza committed two unforced errors to lose the first game of second set but also held at love to level on her fourth ace. After Kenin won the third game at love, she broke Muguruza in the fourth game and held serve for a 4-1 lead. Muguruza hammered her fifth ace to reduce tally but dropped serve to lose the set 6-2.
A net-cord at 40-15 put Kenin at 1-0 in the third set. As both players held serve, the first hint of a possible Kenin day occurred in the fifth game. Kenin lost the first three points on serve but clawed back to deuce. She then delivered a slice serve beyond Muguruza’s reach and hit a forehand passing shot for the game, on five consecutive winners.
An apparent crestfallen Muguruza lost the sixth game on a double fault.
Kenin commenced the seventh game with her second ace and prevailed after a long rally to lead 5-2.
Serving to stay in the match, Muguruza was taken to deuce. She faced match point on the first advantage for Kenin but saved it. However, she lost the game and set on the second opportunity and the 21-year-old Sofia Kenin became the new champion.
Muguruza was unseeded, but was the odds-on favourite for the title, based on her previous French Open and Wimbledon titles and her march through the draw in which she survived a first set loss of 6-0 in the first round match against American Shelby Rogers. She also defeated two top 10 players in the draw.
The 14th-seeded Sofia Kenin was in unfamiliar territory of a maiden major final but she fulfilled the dream she nursed as a seven-year old girl back in Russia, the country of her birth.