That’s a wrap for the 2020 Australian Open! On Saturday evening in Melbourne, Sofia Kenin beat Garbiñe Muguruza to win her first Slam title. Of the last 10 Slams, seven have produced first time champions. By virtue of the victory, Kenin will crack the world’s top ten in next week’s rankings. This second week has been a tough one to follow but it was nice to finally watch a match live. Read on for my thoughts from the final…
Match recap 🎾
Rallying from a set down, Sofia Kenin produced a stunning performance to beat Garbiñe Muguruza, 4-6 6-2 6-2, and win the Australian Open title!
Considering it was her first Slam final, Kenin made a very positive start to the match. It was Muguruza though who secured the first break of serve at 1-1. Kenin didn’t do a lot wrong in the opener, and managed to keep the scoreline close. Kenin levelled up at 4-4 but Muguruza refocused to win the final two games of the set. Muguruza coupled relentless baseline aggression with forays into the net and drive volley winners.
Kenin really picked up her game in the second set and began to dictate. Muguruza became increasingly impatient in the rallies and hesitant to come forward. Muguruza won 10 of 14 points at the net in the first set, but made just three net approaches in the second set.
Into a third set and Kenin had the early momentum. Muguruza was miscuing her groundstrokes but defended valiantly with the customary grit and tenacity she has displayed all tournament. The turning point of the final set was at 2-2 where Kenin saved three break points from *0-40 as she produced a trio of bold down-the-line winners. It was an extraordinary game from Kenin who didn’t drop another game as Muguruza’s serve became increasingly vulnerable. Sadly, the match ended in anticlimactic fashion with a Muguruza double fault.
Match analysis 🤔
First of all, this was a great final. It was a strange one in that I couldn’t decide who I wanted to win, or who I thought would win. I was just enjoying the tennis and the tension as the match wore on.
It was a sad end to the match for Muguruza whose game and serve unravelled. Still, it was a fantastic tournament for the Spaniard and I think the disappointment will make her hungrier to succeed if/when (surely when) she makes another Slam final. I still believe that Muguruza is at her best when she’s moving forward and hitting drive volleys. It was the winning tactic for her in the first set but she just couldn’t implement it in the final two sets as Kenin kept her rooted to the baseline and on the back foot.
This was surely the performance of Kenin’s career. Against a much more experienced opponent and in the highest of high pressure moments, Kenin simply played the big points much better. I get a bit fed up of all the general “she doesn’t have much power” comments towards Kenin – I don’t agree. The backhand is pure and she was dictating Muguruza for the final two sets with her effortless ability to redirect the ball. As well, tennis is so much more than just hitting winners and mentality is huge. Kenin believes in herself, her game and that she belongs. Already, she is one of the best competitors and match players on the WTA tour.
I’ve been high on Kenin since Indian Wells last year and actually had her to win a Slam in my 2020 predictions! I was one Slam late 😂. Even with the recency bias, I think Kenin will be a mainstay in the top ten for the next decade. There may be a period of adjustment after this win because her life is going to change dramatically but in the long run, she’s going to be fine. I think her game has the perfect balance between defence and attack, and coupled with her mental toughness and desire to win.
Super stat 🔢
Kenin saved 10 of 12 break points in the final, twice coming from *0-40 down including that memorable game in the third set.
Best point 🎾
From the third game of the first set, this was an incredible break point save from Kenin..
This was super classy from Muguruza.
LOL moment 🤣
The start of Kenin’s press conference!
Press highlight 📰
Muguruza’s press conference was fascinating and she was a little more open compared to previous pressers during the tournament. She was asked right at the end about why she hasn’t been as jolly as late.
Recommended media 📺
In case you missed this viral video, Kim Clijsters giving a young Kenin a tour around the Miami Open. Amazing!
No more nervous waking up to check the scores!
Four months until the next Slam… 😔