Sofia Kenin is one win away from lifting a maiden Grand Slam trophy after she continued her fairytale run with a stunning victory over world No 1 Ashleigh Barty in the Australian Open semi-final.
The 21-year-old’s previous best appearance at Melbourne Park was a second-round exit in 2019, but she has made it all the way to the final this year, beating Barty and teen sensation Coco Gauff en route.
Kenin won 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 to end Barty’s hopes of becoming the first Australian woman to win their home major in 40 years.
Clutch Kenin@SofiaKenin collects a 7-6(6) 7-5 win over world No. 1 Barty to reach her first Grand Slam final and become the youngest Melbourne finalist since 2008.#AO2020 | #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/vPxrtFzgZU
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 30, 2020
Barty looked like she would take charge when she fashioned three break points in game six, but Kenin held firm and eventually managed to hold serve.
Both players struggled to win points on serve in the tie-breaker, but Barty again had her nose in front as she had two set points at 6-4, but Kenin came up with the goods and then took the set on her first set point.
The Roland Garros champion came out firing in the second set as she broke in the third game and then found herself with two set points in game 10.
Kenin once again turned things around and broke back before holding her serve.
It meant Barty was serving to stay in the match, but Kenin raced into a 15-40 lead and, although the Australian saved the first match point, the American made no mistake with the second one.
“She’s such a tough player. I knew I needed to find a way to win. This wasn’t an easy one but I’m just so grateful and thankful for this moment,” she said on court afterwards,” Kenin said.
“I’m just so speechless. I’ve dreamed about this moment since I was five years old. I have worked so hard to get here so thanks to everyone, my dad and everyone back home. Thank you guys!
“She [Barty] came up with some really great shots. It was tough. I knew she wasn’t going to give it up. I needed to fight out there.”
She will face either fourth seed Simona Halep or Garbine Muguruza in Saturday’s final.
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