Sofia Kenin and Garbine Muguruza make up this year’s Australian Open Ladies final and truth be told none of us saw this coming, in what was a 100/1 shot before the tournament for these two to contest the final match. The young American who’s 21st birthday fell last November had a breakthrough 2019 making it to the last 16 of the French Open when losing to eventual winner Ashleigh Barty in three sets, she won two WTA events and had many impressive wins against top players along the way.
Surprisingly enough she couldn’t make it past the second round here last year. She’s had a relatively smooth run to the final not dropping a set until the 4th round when she came up against fellow American who has stolen the limelight and the world’s hearts in Coco Gauff. This was the only set she has dropped thus far and came through as underdog to beat the heavy home favourite Ash Barty 7-6 7-5 to book her place in the final.
Kenin is the definition of an all-round player, having no obvious weakness other than experience.
She has a solid serve and is effective from both forehand and backhand wings, she can slice the ball well, has good volleys and great feel. Her competitive spirit could be her best attribute and really looks a future multiple grand slam winner in the making.
When Muguruza went 0-6 down in her opening match against Shelby Rogers I’m sure not even she thought she had a real chance of making it to the final day. She dropped a set in both her 1st and 2nd round appearances but it has to be said that ever since these she’s been on a one-way ticket to the final, beating three top ten players on the way without losing a set.
She also has the added advantage of having been in this position before, having two grand slam titles under her belt already. Her form has seemingly come from nowhere in this tournament, as she won just one event last year, a low-grade WTA event. She has also had multiple first-round exits during that span, experiencing undoubtedly the poorest year of her career to date. Garbine is one of the hardest hitters on tour and the result of this match depends on her winners/unforced errors ratio.
It is likely that she will either blow Kenin off the court en route to Grand Slam no.3, or else prove to be her own worst enemy.
Interestingly, the only previous meeting between these two came just four months ago, and it was the American that had the edge, 6-0, 2-6, 6-2. This was also played on a hard court in Beijing, but was in the first round of that tournament, so it remains to be seen whether that will be an indicator of more success here for Kenin.
Muguruza has been on an absolute warpath since her shaky start in this tournament, and I think she’ll continue her fine run of form with a convincing victory on Saturday, which is why my first tip is Muguruza to win 2-0.
I also believe that if Kenin has much resistance to offer in this match, it will likely come predominantly in the first set, which is why I believe Evens is a good price on my second tip.