‘Everyone is surprised, but I am not surprised’ – Sofia Kenin backed to bag Australian Open crown
Sofia Kenin has been backed to complete a surprise victory in the Australian Open – by her doubles partner, who says she’d not actually be surprised at all.
The 21-year-old American will contest her first grand slam final on Saturday when she takes on two-time major winner Garbine Muguruza at Melbourne Park.
Kenin had never previously been beyond the fourth round at a slam but she showed her big-match mentality in beating Serena Williams at the French Open last year and has risen swiftly up the rankings to 15th.
She was also a child prodigy marked out for stardom at an early age, while she made her US Open debut at 16, and she will crack the top ten for the first time next week regardless of her success in the final.
Kenin’s doubles partner, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, said: “Everyone is surprised. But, knowing her and seeing some of her wins this year, I am not really surprised.
“I don’t consider her that much of an outside shot at this title. She is feisty, she showed mentality really wins matches.”
After ending the run of 15-year-old Coco Gauff in the fourth round, Kenin played the party pooper role again by knocking out big home hope Ashleigh Barty in the semi-finals.
“I watched the match yesterday and the feeling was Ash had a lot of momentum in both sets and it really was Sofia’s fire that got her through,” said Mattek-Sands.
“She came up big with some returns on the right points and that’s what it takes. Her ball is deceptively big. She places it well and she just does what it takes.
“If it takes doing a two-handed backhand drop shot, if it takes lobbing all day long, she goes in with the mentality, ‘What have I got to do to win?’ And that’s what champions do.
“I’m proud of her. She’s just a really a unique person who is genuinely herself and I think that’s ultimately what wins tennis matches.”
Emma Raducanu can ‘rule the world’ after shock US Open success
Former Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade says the 18-year-old needs advice on how to cope with her increased fame
When is Emma Raducanu’s next tournament? Will she still have to qualify following her US Open success?
Looking at what might come next for the 18-year-old.
US Open day 14: A perfect anniversary gift from Daniil Medvedev as he prepares to party, Dylan Alcott chugs down beer
There was a fittingly dramatic end to a wild US Open.
‘It’s a tough one to swallow, but I felt something I never felt in my life in New York,’ says Novak Djokovic’
Daniil Medvedev won his first Grand Slam by beating favourite Novak Djokovic.
WATCH: Daniil Medvedev performs peculiar celebration after US Open win and then explains what it meant
The FIFA legends will no doubt have enjoyed it.
Emotional Novak Djokovic claims a victory he feared would never come in US Open defeat
His Calendar Grand Slam dreams were shattered, but Novak Djokovic took solace from a moment that clearly touched him.
Daniil Medvedev stuns erratic Novak Djokovic to win US Open and deny world No 1 Calendar Grand Slam
Daniil Medvedev triumphed in straight sets.
What next for Emma Raducanu? When will she return to the UK? What about sponsorship deals?
Raducanu’s achievement in New York will be a life-changing moment.
Virginia Wade compares Emma Raducanu with tennis greats after ‘exceptional’ success at the US Open
The 18-year-old is the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles in 44 years.
Channel 4 and Amazon Prime Video report massive viewing figures for Emma Raducanu’s US Open final win
Emma Raducanu’s US Open win a big hit.