Sofia Kenin: 2020 Australian Open Champ

Sofia Kenin

AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Women’s Championship Match

[14] Sofia Kenin (USA) vs. [32] Garbine Muguruza (ESP)

21 y.o., 5′ 7″ vs. 26 y.o., 6’0″

It was the final of a major and both players had to battle each other plus the other opponent on the court, nerves. The winner as always would be the one who handled their nerves the best at the critical moments. The match started off with Muguruza appearing as the player who was handling the nerves better as she broke the American in the third game of the match after Kenin was leading in her service game. Yet, nerves were there for the Spaniard and they came out in the eighth game. Muguruza was 4-3 up and serving to go up 5-3 and she double faulted to lose the game. They were back on serve 4-4 and that’s when things got interesting. Kenin could not hold her serve and was immediately broken again by the Spaniard and this time, Muguruza did not wobble; she held her nerves and won the first set 6-4.

Getty Images AsiaPac: Garbine Muguruza

How Would Kenin Respond?

I was impressed by the fight of Kenin. She does not appear to have the big weapons we have traditionally associated with major champions; however, her best weapons may be her belief in herself and her game. Thus, despite dropping the first set after fighting back to even the set, she was not discouraged. Kenin came back after a bathroom break energized. She knew she could beat the Spaniard, she just had to adjust to the emotions of the occasion and that is exactly what she did. She broke the Spaniard twice to secure the second set 6-2 and force a deciding set.

Muguruza Succumbed To The Nerves

It was Muguruza’s turn to take a break, and she had the trainer out to check on her back. After defeating three top ten players en route to the final and winning the first set, Muguruza’s body failed her. There is always a moment in every match when the momentum changes and it happened in the fifth game of the third set. Kenin was 0-40 down; Muguruza had three opportunities to break Kenin’s serve and take the lead and could not. After that, the wheels came off mentally for the Spaniard and she was never able to recover. She was broken in her next two service games. At 40-15 up in the sixth and eighth games, double faults cost Muguruza both games and the match.

Getty Images AsiaPac: Sofia Kenin

Kenin And Muguruza Made History

Kenin fought her way back after dropping the first set to win her first major title 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in her first try. She became the youngest American woman to win a major title since Serena Williams did so in 2002 (US Open); and she was also involved in the first major final without a top ten seed.

SOURCE OF IMAGES: Zimbio.com (Getty Images AsiaPac)

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