French Open 2020 final highlights: Iga Swiatek stuns Sofia Kenin

Nineteen-year-old Iga Swiatek defeated Sofia Kenin in straight sets at Roland-Garros, becoming the first-ever Grand Slam singles champion from Poland.

Iga Swiatek of Poland kisses the Suzanne-Lenglen cup following her victory against Sofia Kenin in the Women's Singles Final.   -  Getty Images

AND THERE SHE HOLDS UP THE TROPHY! The first from her nation! Historical sporting moment for the country.

 

THE NUMBERS GAME

28 games dropped by Swiatek to win at Roland-Garros, fewest since Steffi Graf dropped just 20 in 1988.

Youngest champion since Monica Seles in 1992.

This has been an incredible from Swiatek! She has beaten Kenin 6-4, 6-1 in a thoroughly dominating performance and becomes the first woman since 2007 to win the Slam without dropping a set! This is a phenomenal start for a young career as she wins one of the toughest Slams first up in her career! Hopefully, there's much more to come from this prodigious talent.

 

SECOND SET

15-0 Abrupt decision from Kenin to approach the net and it fails miserably. Swiatek forces the winner with ease!  30-15 Two points away! She is supreme on serve once again.  30-30 No fuss there from Kenin as she forces the return of the backhand.  CHAMPIONSHIP POINT for Swiatek!  SHE'S DONE IT! 19-year-old Iga Swiatek is the ROLAND GARROS WOMEN'S CHAMPION!

Swiatek serves for the Roland Garros Title!

SWIATEK 5:1 KENIN

30-0 Swiatek mixes up th returns as it puts Kenin off guard! 40-0 Break point for Swiatek! AND SHE BREAKS ONCE AGAIN!

 

SWIATEK 4:1 KENIN

15-0 Calculative shot from Swiatek, cheeky pulls in the drop as Kenin is far off and not a hundred percent on her toes!  30-0 Magnificent on the backhand as Kenin is teeing off from this slowly.  40-0 Swiatek in cruise control! Game, Swiatek! She is two games away from history. Kenin hardly featured in this entire game on return.

SWIATEK 3:1 KENIN

0-15 Wobbling a bit but a superb serve on point from Kenin.  30-15 Kenin is pushed down to the baseline and barely forces a return lob. Swiatek pounces on the smash and takes the lead. BREAK POINT FOR SWIATEK!  AND SHE BREAKS! Kenin falling rapidly down the spiral now.

Kenin is back on court! However, a heavier strapping is visible on her left thigh.

Well, what a start this has been from Swiatek in her first Slam final! One would have expected to see Kenin force to wear down Swiatek but her accurate returns have pulled her out of any sort of pressure in this one. Kenin, however, has not employed much of her aggressive game on the Pole and I wonder why that has been the case. In streaks and flashes, Kenin's powerful strokeplay had kept Swiatek quiet.

Kenin has the physio overlooking at her right now. Some discussions going on. Oh! And Kenin has left the court. She seems to be in some sort of discomfort here.

SWIATEK 2:1 KENIN

 

40-15 Easy for Swiatek, Kenin seems a tad frustrated as the lowly returns just feeds into Swiatek's game! Game, Swiatek! Kenin's early hardwork in the set is buried by the 19-year-old.

SWIATEK 1:1 KENIN

30-15 Once again on top on the serve. Her returns during the serves too stands out, forces the space for a winner within inches from Kenin.  BREAK POINT FOR SWIATEK! Right back at Kenin as falters with a double-fault. SWIATEK BREAKS! Kenin forcing the powerful, deep serves to the far left of Swiatek. The Pole is not flinched as swivels a magnificent backhand winner!

SWIATEK 0:1 KENIN

15-30 Kenin seems finally in her element. Forcing the pressure on the rally on every move and eventually forces Swiatek to drop it wide off court. Brilliant point!  Break point for Kenin! AND SHE BREAKS! She is finally hit by the reality of losing the first one as switched gears early on in the second.

SET TWO UNDERWAY

Amazing from the 19-year-old! She is unfazed by the big stage and forces the pressure on the rather experienced Kenin who seemed squandered all over the place in the first set! Will the Oz open champion force her way back?

 

SWIATEK wins Set 1: 6-4

0-15 Desperate serving game for Kenin. She will hope to close it quick. 15-15 We have a stubborn teenager at the other end folks! Stifles Kenin with yet another return! 30-15 Pressure gets to Kenin as she forces a hard return off the baseline! SET POINT FOR SWIATEK!  SWIATEK TAKES IT! She continues the streak of not losing a set even in the final! Fabulous stuff.

SWIATEK 5:4 KENIN

15-30 Double Fault from Swiatek! Kenin will hope to cash in here straight back. 30-30 Amazing return! Kenin had Swiatek on the brink but the Pole drills a return with inch perfect precision. SET POINT FOR SWIATEK!  DEUCE Kenin prolongs by Swiatek's bid a bit as she finds a strong return under pressure!  ADVANTAGE KENIN, on the break point, aggressive on the return there! She'd hope to step in this direction.  Kenin breaks! She looks on a different level when she forces the aggressive game, Swiatek froze as the American fired in the cross court return! She is back from the brink!

Swiatek serving for the set

SWIATEK 5:3 KENIN

0-30 She looks more confident on serve here, Kenin.  15-30 A dull return on the backhand from Kenin as it crashes the net.  30-30 Kenin pummels one down the line but Swiatek manages to return. Kenin goes with too much power and misses the line out wide.  DEUCE.  Kenin is turning aggressor here as she leads on Advantage. DEUCE Amazing from Swiatek, crisp court moment as she reaches the drop from Kenin and forces a cross-court return, brilliant tennis all around!  BREAK POINT FOR SWIATEK a double-fault from Kenin, major point coming up!  DEUCE Incredible from Kenin. The grunts and roars get louder as she smashes the forehand winner after a nervy rally! Excellent returns as both players exchange the lead twice! Swiatek on Break Point again!  AND SHE BREAKS! A gritty game here from Swiatek as she hangs in to force a break!

Indeed, we have a cracker to behold!

 

SWIATEK 4:3 KENIN

30-15 Brilliant from either player, one of the first long rallies, but Swiantek forces Kenin stretch hard as pushes the return down the line.  30-30 Second double fault from Swiantek!  DEUCE the first one of the match as Swiatek looked a bit wobbly on serve this time, Kenin manages her to keep herself in this one.  Advantage Swiatek What a return from Swiatek! Kenin thought it would be down to the left of her but a stunning cross court return from Swiatek stuns the American.  DEUCE Amazing backspin from the drop from Kenin, Swiatek froze miles away.  Advantage Swiatek Kenin stays a little deep behind the baseline lately and Swiatek cashes in with the slice, Kenin does not make it. Swiatek Holds! Crucial hold on serve from Swiatek.

SWIATEK 3:3 KENIN

15-40 Kenin forcing her way back with an excellent service game.  30-40 Scratch that. Swiatek plays a measured rally before Kenin loses her composure on the backhand. Game, Kenin! She holds serve after a scare.

SWIATEK 3:2 KENIN

15-15 Wily on serve is Swiatek, forcing the error from Kenin who is desperate break back before it's too late.  15-30 Spot on from Kenin as she keeps it simple with a wide return to earn the lead. Break point for Kenin!  AND SHE BREAKS! A touch shaky on serve here from Swiatek and Kenin cashes in quickly with a strong return game. No flashy stuff as she forced precise returns.

SWIATEK 3:1 KENIN

15-40 Kenin looks confident on serve this time aroynd. 30-40 Magnifient return from Swiatek there, Kenin playing around the court as he offers a drop, not executing it perfectly and Swiatek pounces on it. Game, Kenin! Finally underway!

SWIATEK 3:0 KENIN

15-0 Terrific coupling of power and finesse as Swiatek supports the powerful serve with a classy drop shot, Kenin stood no chance whatsoever.  40-0 Without much ado, Swiatek doubles up the lead. A strong serving game as Kenin struggles to quip a return.  40-15 And right on cue, there's one from Kenin, strong one from the backhand to the right of Swiatek. Game, Swiatek! Another breezy start from the Pole!

SWIATEK 2:0 KENIN

30-15 Swiatek powering the return that stretches Kenin who sends it wide. 40-30 Break Point for Swiatek!  Kenin struggling to fend off the returns to her forehand. Swiatek Breaks! Well, that was quick!  And that has quite been the story of her tournament, hasn't it?

SWIATEK 1:0 KENIN

30-0 Good couple of serves early on from Swiatek, forcing the errors from Kenin. Game, Swiatek! Easy serve from Swiatek. Good, positive start. on serve.

SWIATEK TO SERVE

The players are having their customary hit before start. Temperatures touching 14 degrees and will certainly be frosty through the night even as a tempestuous duel will unravel in the middle.

SO HERE WE ARE FOLKS, after 12 exciting days of tennis, the final two, Iga Swiatek and Sofia Kenin enter the iconic Philippe-Chatrier Stadium for the showdown!

 

This will be the youngest Grand Slam final by combined age since the 2008 Australian Open (Sharapova d. Ivanovic). There's a lot to play for as a new decade unfurls in women's tennis!

Right, the stage is set! After a unforgettable night to savour in the men's semifinals, the spotlight now shifts to two young gems of the court with Kenin having relished the big stage once earlier this year in her victorious Australian Open. However, things will certainly spice up in the cool breeze in Paris as the 21-year-old takes on a red-hot Swiatek. Hopefully, as things stand, there are no clear favourites despite Swiatek's impressive run. If there's any one to stop her right now, it must be Kenin. Get set to embrace another dazzling night!

Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek are the last women standing at a French Open tournament unlike any other, full of surprises and held in the autumnal Paris chill after it was delayed four months by the coronavirus pandemic.

Iga Swiatek's French Open (in numbers)

Total Games played: 95   Won - 72  Lost -23

Sets:  Won - 12   Lost - 0

Total time on court - 7 hours

Average time on court - 1 hour and 10 minutes

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Sofia Kenin's French Open (in numbers)

Total Games played: 139   Won - 85  Lost - 54

Sets:  Won - 12   Lost - 4

Total time on court - 10 hours 34 minutes

Average time on court - 1 hour and 46 minutes

 

Australian Open champion Kenin is targeting a second Grand Slam of the year while the 19-year-old Swiatek has her sights set on becoming Poland’s first major singles champion.

 

Sofia Kenin (USA x4) v Iga Swiatek (POL)

Head-to-head: First meeting

Kenin arrived at Roland Garros having suffered an embarrassing double-bagel defeat by Victoria Azarenka in Rome, her lone warm-up match on clay, a surface she used to despise. The American had never advanced as far the quarterfinals on clay before this fortnight, but now stands a win away from becoming the first woman to capture two Slams in the same season since Angelique Kerber won the Australian and US Open in 2016. The 21-year-old is hoping her Melbourne experience will give her an edge over Swiatek, who has blasted through to the final for the loss of just 23 games.

“I’ve been there, done that. I know what the emotions are getting into your first Grand Slam final. I’m hoping she’s going to be a little bit nervous,” said Kenin.

Kenin’s hunger and desire ranks among the best, as does her ability to adjust and counter an opponent armed with greater power as witnessed in her victory over Petra Kvitova.

WATCH | French Open highlights: Nadal to battle Djokovic for 13th title

A five-month shutdown of the season due to the Covid-19 outbreak threatened to check the momentum of her triumph Down Under, and Kenin admitted it was hard at first to adapt.

“With the whole pandemic, things kind of got on hold,” she recounted. “I didn’t have really motivation when I knew that everything is shut down.

“It took some time for me to get my motivation back. I finally got it. I feel like I’m playing the best tennis right now, as well.”

Kenin has gone to three sets in four of her six matches and will need to be at her uncompromising best to subdue an opponent who has ruthlessly swept aside the competition, including top seed and favourite Simona Halep.

READ | Solid Kenin beats Kvitova to reach final in Paris

At 19, Swiatek is the youngest player to reach the women’s French Open final since Kim Clijsters in 2001. She has matched the run of compatriot Jadwiga Jedrzejowska -- the most outstanding Polish player of the interwar period – who finished runner-up at Roland Garros in 1939.

Swiatek is only the second Polish woman to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open era after Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon in 2012. She had never previously been beyond the last 16. The latest in a line of teen stars, Swiatek is the seventh unseeded women’s finalist at Roland Garros. Of the previous six, only Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 went on to lift the trophy.

“I will need to be on a different level, the higher level, even though I’m winning easily right now,” said Swiatek. “I’m going to be, like, an underdog.”

READ | Swiatek downs Podoroska to reach maiden French Open final

Swiatek, then barely 15, beat Kenin 6-4, 7-5 in the French Open junior tournament in 2016, but like Ostapenko three years ago she goes into the final hunting her first title of any sort at tour level. Not that Swiatek, whose work with a psychologist has helped immeasurably with her laser-like focus, expects to be overawed by the occasion.

“I feel like I’m ready. I also feel like I don’t have to win. I’m pretty okay with both scenarios,” said Swiatek, who was beaten on Friday along with partner Nicole Melichar in the doubles semifinals.

“Of course it’s going to be sad because I would be so close if I’m going to lose.

“I think if I’m going to win, it’s going to be crazy and super overwhelming for me.”

Paths to the final (x indicates seeded player):

SOFIA KENIN

Age: 21

WTA ranking: 6 (Highest ranking: 4)

Grand Slam titles: 1

Career WTA titles: 5

2019 French Open performance: Fourth round

Best French Open performance: Fourth round (2019)

Road to final

First round: bt Liudmila Samsonova (Russia) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Second round: bt Ana Bogdan (Romania) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2

Third round: bt Irina Bara (Romania) 6-2, 6-0

Fourth round: bt Fiona Ferro (France) 2-6, 6-2, 6-1

Quarterfinals: bt Danielle Collins (USA) 6-4, 4-6, 6-0

Semifinals: bt Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic x7) 6-4, 7-5

IGA SWIATEK

Age: 19

WTA ranking: 54 (Highest ranking: 48)

Grand Slam titles: 0

Career WTA titles: 0

2019 French Open performance: Fourth round

Best French Open performance: Fourth round (2019)

Road to final

First round: bt Marketa Vondrousova (Czech Republic x15) 6-1, 6-2

Second round: bt Hsieh Su-Wei (Taipei) 6-1, 6-4

Third round: bt Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) 6-3, 6-2

Fourth round: bt Simona Halep (Romania x1) 6-1, 6-2

Quarterfinals: bt Martina Trevisan (Italy) 6-3, 6-1

Semifinals: bt Nadia Podoroska (Argentina) 6-2, 6-1

The match is being streamed on Hotstar. A