Sofia Kenin reached her first major title at the Australian Open on Saturday, surpassing the challenge of Garbiñe Muguruza, winning three sets and winning her first grand at the age of 21. While many commentators have pointed out that her play may lack a natural big gun, what they recognized was the calmness she showed in the fight.
Despite losing 6-4 in the first set, the 21-year-old broke Muguruza’s resistance and won the next two sets 6-2 and 6-2. The key to the fight, however, was the fifth game of the fifth set. At this point, Muguruza was ahead 0-40 and was to take a big lead for the win. Kenin then did the unbelievable: erased the three breaks with three of the race’s best points. With two backhands down the line and one forehand down the line he wrote 40-40 and then with an ace and forehand winner kept her serve.
After about two hours of struggle and overthrow, Kenin finally managed to break through and celebrate the biggest title of her life.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 1, 2020
The American athlete gave an interview after her grand slam victory on Saturday stating that :
“People ignored me because I wasn’t the tallest kid when I was young. They didn’t say the best for me, but my dad believed in me, he didn’t hear them. “
Standing along Kenin’s path is her father and coach, Alex, a Russian who immigrated to New York City and drove a taxi at night while studying English by day. A self-taught coach that his daughter proudly describes as “crazy smart”, a father who was always convinced of his daughter’s ability to get to the top of the game.
Facing three break points in the final set, was this the game that won @SofiaKenin the title?
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 5, 2020