French Open: Solid Kenin beats Kvitova to reach final in Paris

The Australian Open champion, who will face Polish teenager Iga Zwiatek on Saturday, was the most aggressive player throughout the match.

Sofia Kenin celebrates after winning match point during her women's Singles semifinals match against Petra Kvitova.   -  Getty Images

American fourth seed Sofia Kenin marched into her second Grand Slam final of the year with a commanding 6-4 7-5 victory against Czech Petra Kvitova at the French Open on Thursday.

The Australian Open champion, who will face Polish teenager Iga Zwiatek on Saturday, was the most aggressive player throughout the match on Court Philippe Chatrier.

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Seventh seed Kvitova, in her first semifinal appearance at Roland Garros since 2012, was often forced out of position by her Moscow-born 21-year-old opponent who produced a masterclass of game management on a windy Court Phillipe Chatrier and on Saturday will face Polish teenager Iga Swiatek with a second Grand Slam title of the year within touching distance.

Kenin raced into a 4-1 lead as Kvitova showed some nerves after holding her first service game to love and, despite her Czech opponent finally getting into the groove, it was enough for the American to bag the first set.

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Twice Wimbledon champion Kvitova lost her serve to fall 3-2 behind in the second before breaking back for 5-5, only to drop serve again.

Kenin did not miss her chance as she served for the match for the second time, seeing it through when Kvitova's cross-court forehand flew wide.

When she got a second chance to serve it out at 6-5, however, the American could not be denied as Kvitova fired a forehand wide on match point -- a shot that rather summed up the Czech's performance.

"I had tough matches these past two weeks. It's amazing to be in the final," Kenin said on court. "I'm going to enjoy it and then tomorrow get ready for the final.

"She's such a tough player with such an aggressive game, huge serve. I knew I needed to play my best tennis.

"I'm super proud of myself."

 

UNCOMFORTABLE KVITOVA

For seventh seed Kvitova, who made her return here in 2017 after a six-month lay-off due to a knife attack during a burglary at her home, it was a disappointing end to a tournament in which the door to a first French Open title had opened wide.

Despite all her experience, the left-handed two-time Wimbledon champion never looked comfortable in the gusty wind, her serve not functioning and 31 errors flying off her strings.

She looked leaden-footed from the start as she dropped serve twice to trail 4-1 to the nimble Kenin and, although she managed to grab one break back, the eager American sealed the opener on her second set point having double-faulted on her first.

Kvitova showed more intensity early in the second set, screaming loudly as she held for 2-1 and then squandering a break point as Kenin stood firm under pressure.

Kenin broke serve in the next game, dragging Kvitova wide with a backhand before rolling a forehand into the vacant court.

Kvitova had four break back points in the sixth game but Kenin saved them all and stayed solid to 5-4, only to suddenly tighten up and gift Kvitova an unlikely escape route.

But the Czech, who put her tracksuit top back on for the last three games as skies darkened and the temperature dropped, could not take advantage as she dropped serve again.

Kenin was wound up like a spring but kept her cool when it mattered to reach the final in only her third French Open

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