21-year-old Sofia Kenin on Saturday stunned two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguriza of Spain to win her maiden major at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne Park. Kenin bounced back from a set down under a closed roof to defeat the Spaniard 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in just two hours. With the win, she became the youngest American women to win a major in Melbourne since Serene Williams in 2002. And is the youngest Australian Open champion since Mari Sharapova in 2008.
She had never been past the fourth round of a major tournament until now. Kenin reached the first Grand Slam final of her career by beating No. 1 Ash Barty in the semifinals. Muguruza is a former No. 1-ranked player who won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017.
“This is my first speech, but I’m gonna try my best. First off, congrats Garbiñe on a great finals and a great tournament. I want to congratulate your team for a great two weeks,” said the new champion. “My dream officially came true. I cannot describe this feeling. It’s so emotional, I worked so hard. Dreams come true. If you work for it, it’s going to come true.”
Kenin won the second set 6-2 to level the match after Muguruza took the first set 6-4. The 14th-seeded Kenin is playing in the final of a major for the first time. Muguruza has won Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon in 2017 and the French Open in 2016
Muguruza took first set 6-4 in the Australian Open final against 14th-seeded Sofia Kenin. Muguruza, a two-time major winner, converted two of her nine break-point chances — in the third and ninth games. Kenin converted the first break point opportunity she got in the eighth game. The 21-year-old American is playing in her first major final.
“I think I’m going to keep it short b/c I’m going to get very emotional. Congratulations Sofia, you played an incredible match, incredible tournament. You deserve the trophy. I think we’re going to see you play in more finals soon,” said the Spaniard after the match. “I have to say it has been incredible playing out here in this environment. The crowd makes it special. We play for you guys, that’s the show. Thank you for coming.”
(With AP inputs)