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Numbers that define Sofia Kenin's maiden Grand Slam haul in Australian Open 2020

Garbine Muguruza managed 32 winners as against Sofia Kenin's 28, but had incurred almost double the unforced errors as the American (45 to 23) and most importantly, hit 8 unforced errors.

Aratrick Mondal Reported by: Aratrick Mondal
New Delhi Updated on: February 01, 2020 17:50 IST
Sofia Kenin, right, of the U.S. holds the Daphne Akhurst
Image Source : AP

Sofia Kenin, right, of the U.S. holds the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after defeating Spain's Garbine Muguruza in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne

Garbine Muguruza was the overwhelming favourite in the contest heading into the Rod Laver Arena on Saturday night. She has been to a Grand Slam final thrice in her career, winning the Wimbledon in 2017 and French Open in 2016. Besides, she had another Grand Slam-er Conchita Martinez in her corner for her fourth major final, where she looked to bag her third Slam and become the first Spanish female player to win a title in Melbourne Park.

Opposite her was 21-year-old Sofia Kenin, who ceased the Coco mania and crashed the Barty party before making her maiden Grand Slam final appearance. And in terms of the head-to-head tie, she had clear edge, given that she had defeated the Spaniard in their last and only encounter in Beijing in 2019.

Much like the expected result, Muguruza had broken the young American early in the first set before finishing it off on a 6-4 note in 52 minutes and had one hand on the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. However, the numbers stood contrary to the results. The Spaniard struck 15 winners to Kenin's 9, but incurred more unforced errors (17 to Kenin's 15). The American also won more overall points, 26 to Muguruza's 21. The youngster, however, bounced back in fashion, broke Muguruza early on in the second set and held her serve to race away to a 4-1 lead. Kenin stayed well ahead in terms of a number of winners and had well countered Muguruza's first serves, which by then, had begun to falter. 

In less than 50 minutes, Kenin took home the second set 6-2 and was starring at a  remarkable comeback in her maiden Grand Slam final, one which has only been witnessed once in Open Era. Since 1968, women players who have made their maiden appearance in a Grand Slam final are 1-47 in matches where they have lost the opening set. The only player to have crushed history was Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 French Open final when she had rallied back from a set down to defeat Simona Halep. Moreover, in three-setters, Kenin held a record of 27-20 (57%) and her opponent stood at 78-59 (57%).

The key statistic from the first two sets, however, revealed the percentage drop in points won by the two-time major winner at the net. From 10 off 14 in the opener, Muguruza managed only two off 3. 

A 'decider' as it is named, Kenin scripted the deciding moment in the match. Down 0-40 in the third set, while serving at 2-2, Kenin won all her next five points in spectacular fashion, all with a winner - one on ace and others on clean groundstrokes after gripping exchanges off 11 ore more shots. She did not lose another game as she capped off the summit clash around the two-hour mark at the Rod Laver Arena. 

The numbers spoke clearly in favour of Kenin as Muguruza's performance took a nosedive as the game rolled further under the closed roof. The 26-year-old managed 32 winners as against Kenin's 28, but had incurred almost double the unforced errors as the American (45 to 23) and most importantly, hit 8 unforced errors. Muguruza also never managed to get her first serve percentage over 57 throughout the clash, one that was her main arsenal heading into the contest. Kenin also saved 10 of 12 break points she faced, while converting 5 of 6 that she earned.

Key stats from Kenin Australian Open haul...

1) At 21 years and 81 days, 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.

2) Kenin is also expected to rise to No. 7 in Monday's WTA rankings, the youngest American to make her debut in the top 10 since Serena Williams in 1999.

3) Muguruza is the fourth female Spanish player to lose in Australian Open final after her coach Conchita Martínez in 1998, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario in 1994 and Mary Pierce in 1995.

“This is my first speech, but I'm going to try my best,” Kenin said during the trophy ceremony at Rod Laver Arena

“My dream has officially come true,” she told the crowd. “Dreams come true. So if you have a dream, go for it, and it's going to come true.”