Australian Open final, as it happened: Kenin beats Muguruza to win first Grand Slam title

Sofia Kenin beat Garbine Muguruza in the final to win the Australian Open women's singles title at the Rod Laver Arena. Here's how it happened.

Australian Open

Garbine Muguruza chases her third major title, while Sofia Kenin will vie for her maiden Grand Slam.   -  Getty Images

Hello, and welcome to Sportstar's blog of the Australian Open 2020 women's singles final between Sofia Kenin and Garbine Muguruza.

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Kenin beats Muguruza 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 to win the Australian Open title. Read our match report here.

3: | 6-2 | It's a double fault again and Kenin has done it! Sofia Kenin has won the Australian Open, her first Grand Slam title.  She drops her racquet and holds her face in disbelief. Muguruza, gracious in defeat, comes across the net to congratulate her opponent.

3: | 5-2 | 40 A -40 | Kenin has her second championship point after a forehand winner across court.

3: | 5-2 | 40-40 | Muguruza hits her 8th and 9th ace of the match during the game but her double fault count is up to seven! We have deuce.

Muguruza serving to stay in this final.

3: | 5-2 | Muguruza hits the return against the net and Kenin is now just a game away from her first Grand Slam title.

3: | 4-2 | 40-30 | Muguruza comes fighting back as she overpowers the youngster with a series of attacking shots.

3: | 4-2 | 30-0 | Kenin is doing this in style! She lures Muguruza to the net before hitting a forehand winner past her.

3: | 4-2 | Oh no... A double fault from Muguruza and that hands the break for Kenin!

3: | 3-2 | 40-40 | 'Come on' comes the cry from Kenin as Muguruza hits it against the net!

3: | 3-2 | 15-30 | Superb point from Muguruza after a 19-shot rally! She puts it away at the near court with an overhead smash!

3: | 3-2 | Extraordinary stuff from Kenin! She holds serve in the deciding set following up an ace with a forehand winner!

3: | 2-2 | 40-40 | Are you kidding me?! She has done it again! She has saved three break points for the second time in the match. This time a forehand winner down the line. Three back-to-back winners down the line!

3: | 2-2| 30-40 | Another superb backhand winner! Staggering points under pressure here from Kenin.

3: | 2-2| 15-40 | Stunning backhand winner from Kenin!  Two more break points to save.

3: | 2-2| 0-40 | Three break points for Muguruza as Kenin hits it against the net!

3: | 2-2| 0-30 | Kenin hits it long and Muguruza finds some much needed ascendency.

3: | 2-2| Muguruza again comes good with her first serves as she manages to hold the serve with a forehand smash placed to perfection.

3: | 2-1 | 30-15 | There is that backhand winner from Kenin and Muguruza has no chance!

3: | 2-1 | Kenin holds serve again as Muguruza hits it long.

3: | 1-1 | 30-0 | Kenin all over Muguruza with that point testing the defence of her opponent by hitting it wide on either sides before Muguruza hit it long.

3: | 1-1 | Muguruza holds serve after a few good first serves. An important hold there for the Spaniard.

The American is riding the momentum here...

3: | 1-0 | Muguruza again with a couple of unforced errors hitting her shots long. Make that three wild shots. Muguruza hits it against the net and Kenin holds serve comfortably.

Third set

2: | 6-2 | Kenin takes the second set and we are all level in the final! She set herself up for the set point with another precise backhand winner before the Spaniard hit one long.

2: | 5-2 | 30-0 | Muguruza is handing the points to Kenin now with two unforced errors, hitting her shots long.

2: | 5-2 | Stunning! Kenin leaves no leeway as she hits a forehand winner to hold serve!

2: | 4-2 | 40-30 | Muguruza brings out a strong backhand winner!

2: | 4-2 | 15-0 | A powerful forehand winner from Kenin after a second serve!

2: | 4-2 | Muguruza holds serve with an ace! A couple of unforced errors from Kenin during the game didn't help the American's cause.

Five winners and just one unforced error from Kenin in the second set.

 

2: | 4-1 | But Kenin closes out the game to hold serve! She hits a good first serve and follows it with a forehand winner.

2: | 3-1 | 30-15 | What a point from Muguruza after a long rally! She drags Kenin in with a drop shot before lofting the ball over the head which lands inside the court.

2: | 3-1 | Kenin gets the break as Muguruza hits long!

2: | 2-1 | 40-30 | Break point for Kenin as she screams 'Come on!!' Muguruza rushes to the net but Kenin makes a speedy return low to the Spaniard!

2: | 2-1 | Kenin grinds Muguruza down with some powerful shots across the baseline. Kenin holds serve again and we have 12 straight points to the server in this second set.

2: | 1-1 | Ace number four from Muguruza and she holds serve quickly.

2: | 1-0 | Strong start from Kenin in the second set. A quick hold as she dominates her opponent with good first serves.

Round two. (Second set)

Kenin takes a short break. Can she make a comeback?

 

1: | 4-6 | Muguruza takes the first set in the final after 52 minutes! Kenin can't save the second set point as she hits it wide with her backhand. The Spaniard is pumped with her start.

1: | 4-5 | 15-40 | Muguruza lands couple of good serves on the angle and Kenin could not get it over the net. Set points for the Spaniard.

1: | 4-5 | Break for Muguruza! Kenin hands back the initiative and she is livid with herself. Muguruza comes back fighting as she rushes to her net to force an error from Kenin.

1: | 4-4 | 15-40 | Two break points again for Muguruza as she lands a forehand winner.

1: | 4-4 | Kenin gets to two break points as they play with new balls now. Two double faults and Kenin gets the break over Muguruza!

1: | 3-4 | Superb hold from Kenin! Kenin mixes it up this time with a drop shot. She hold serve again after a great second serve as Muguruza finds the net.

1: | 2-4 | 40-40 | Another big point from Kenin as she serves 3 break points! Her backhand shots have been difficult to deal with for Muguruza.

1: | 2-4 | 15-40 | Muguruza races to three break points but Kenin brings out the backhand winner yet again! Can she hold serve?

1: | 2-4 | Muguruza dishes out a backhand winner of her own after a good first serve to hold serve.

1: | 2-3 | 40-40 | A forehand winner from Kenin and Muguruza has no chance of getting to it!

1: | 2-3 | 40-30 | A superb point for Muguruza and this time there is no let off. She rusn to the court to hit a forehand winner!

1: | 2-3 | 30-30 | Oh Muguruza... A let off with her forehand and Kenin makes her pay with a backhand winner with the Spaniard stranded at the near court.

1: | 2-3 | Muguruza had her opponent there but she hits her forehand winner long before Kenin hits another backhand winner, which finds the line. Kenin holds serve.

1: | 1-3 | 15-15 | What a rally! After a superb baseline exchange, Kenin goes for a drop to the near court which Muguruza gets to and scoops it over the net to the side of the court. Kenin makes the long run but fails to get anything behind her shot.

1: | 1-3 | Just as I say that, Kenin searches for the winner with a backhand which goes wide and Muguruza holds serve again.

1: | 1-2 | 40-40 | Kenin's backhand has been on point today! Another winner from the baseline which is along the line.

1: | 1-2 | An early break for Muguruza as the young American hits a forehand wide in trying to save a third break point of the game.

1: | 1-1 | 40-40 | Shut the front door! What a backhand winner from Kenin to save a break point! Muguruza reviews it but the ball just kisses the baseline.

1: | 1-1 | 40-40 | Muguruza with a superb return followed by a forehand winner to force deuce!

1: | 1-1 | 30-30 | A good call from Muguruza to go for a challenge on a Kenin shot that wasn't called out. Kenin then comes back stronger to force an error from the Spaniard.

1: | 1-1 | Muguruza let down early with poor first serves as Kenin showing her strength from the base line to lead 0-30. Muguruza then follows it up with three good first serves to bring herself back in the game to hold.

1: | 1-0 | A solid start from Kenin as she takes the first game.

1: A good rally to start the final which ends with an unforced error from Muguruza.

We are set for the first set now!

The only time these women met was in the China Open 2019 where the 21-year-old Kenin prevailed in three sets.

The finalists have made their way out to the middle. The chair umpire is relaying the rules to the players. Muguruza opts to receive so Kenin will make the first serve of the final.

PREVIEW

Serena Williams dominated talk before the Australian Open but Saturday’s women’s final is between unseeded Garbine Muguruza and unheralded Sofia Kenin — a 750-1 longshot of a championship match that nobody predicted.

After a tournament of surprises, the 21-year-old Kenin can even supplant Williams as the top-ranked American if she manages another plot twist by beating Spain’s Muguruza in Melbourne.

The 38-year-old American legend Williams was attempting to equal the record 24 Grand Slam titles of Australian Margaret Court, but she lost in the third round to China’s Wang Qiang.

Reigning champion Naomi Osaka went out at the same stage to 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff, who was promptly turfed out herself by fellow American Kenin.

Six of the top 10 seeds exited in the third round, seemingly blowing the tournament open for Australia’s World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty.

But step forward Moscow-born 14th seed Kenin once more, who showed remarkably few nerves in her first Grand Slam semifinal on Thursday as she broke home hearts in straight sets.

World rankings

Even if she loses the final, Kenin will reach a career-high nine in the world, rising from her current position of 15th.

If she beats Muguruza — and she did so in their only previous meeting, at the China Open in the autumn — she will leapfrog Williams into seventh in the rankings.

“After this week, she is a top-10 player, she deserves that respect and she deserves the recognition,” said the beaten Barty, the latest to succumb to the fiery Kenin.

“She’s played an exceptional tournament, she’s had an exceptional last 12 months.”

Kenin won her first WTA title only 12 months ago in Hobart and added two more during the season with the determination and aggression that has become her trademark in the past fortnight.

“I’ve always had that, no matter who I’m playing, where I’m playing, I’m going to fight for it,” said Kenin, who moved to the United States from Russia as a baby with her family.

Muguruza roars back

The 26-year-old Muguruza will be the next to try to tame Kenin. British bookmakers William Hill said the odds of a Kenin-Muguruza final were 750-1 before the Australian Open began.

They make Muguruza the favourite because she has experience of the biggest occasions, having won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017.

But this is her first final in Melbourne and she is ranked 32 in the world after her form tailed off alarmingly in the past 18 months.

The Venezuelan-born Spaniard began her Australian Open campaign with a viral illness and lost the first set of her first match 6-0 to American qualifier Shelby Rogers.

But with the illness on its way out and with Conchita Martinez back as her coach as of November, Muguruza has hardly looked back.

Unseeded for the first time at a Grand Slam since 2014, Muguruza beat three top-10 seeds in reaching the final.

She fought back in both sets in her semi-final against fourth-ranked Simona Halep to defeat her fellow former world number one 7-6 (10/8), 7-5.

Muguruza is not one for exuberant celebrations and she gives as little away in her post-match comments.

So it was left to Halep to say that the Spaniard has the quality to be the world’s top-ranked player once more -- but with one caveat.

“If she can play every day like this, she can be number one for sure,” said the 28-year-old Romanian, also a French Open and Wimbledon champion, following their hard-fought semifinal.

“But it’s tough to do that. The consistency on tour -- it’s the most important thing and the toughest one.”

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Form Guide

 

Kenin - Round 1 – v Trevisan - 6-2, 6-4

Round 2 - v Li - 6-1, 6-3

Round 3v Zhang - 7-5, 7-6 (7)

Round 4 – v Guaff - 6(5)-7, 6-3, 6-0

QF -v- Jabeur - 6-4, 6-4

SF -v- Barty - 7-6 (6), 7-5

 

Muguruza- Round 1 – v Rogers – 0-6, 6-1, 6-0

Round 2 - v Tomljanovic – 6-3, 3-6, 6-3

Round 3 – v - Svitolina– 6-1, 6-2

Round 4 – v - Bertens - 6-3, 6-3

QF - v -1 - Pavlyuchenkova- 7-5, 6-3

SF -v- Halep - 7-6 (8), 7-5