Sofia Kenin left the favourite Petra Kvitova awestruck with her powerful groundstrokes to carve out a straight-set win at the 2020 French Open and make it to her second Grand Slam final of the year.
World number six and the fourth seed in the competition, Kenin registered a 6-4, 7-5 win in a hard-fought match but one in which she never looked like going down.
Kenin, who needed an hour and 45 minutes to defeat the two-time Grand Slam winner, follows her showing at the Australian Open in January where she had beaten Garbine Muguruza in the final to lift the trophy. Coming into Roland-Garros on the back of a 6-0, 6-0 drubbing at the Italian Open against Victoria Azarenka, this result would be even more special for the American.
It was a far cry from how easily Kvitova had held in the first game of the set but once Kenin had found her feet, things changed for her.
After a couple of easy holds for both players, it was Kenin who drew first blood by breaking Kvitova in the third game of the opening set. And after a relatively hold next game, Kenin proceeded to carve out a second break of serve and breeze to a 4-1 lead.
Kvitova earned herself three break-points in the sixth game and while the American saved the first two, the Czech scraped through the break off the third with a lucky unforced error from Kenin. Kvitova almost celebrated the point too early before recovering and drawing the Kenin error.
A scrappy hold from Kenin followed soon after and when Kvitova clinched the ninth game on her own serve, it was all eyes on the fourth seed to try and pouch the set on her serve. Down 0-30, she produced three solid points to earn her first set-point and while she double-faulted on that one, Kenin soon got home off her second set-point to win it 6-4.
10 BPs this match. 9 of them won (either to break or to save a break) won by Kenin. Kvitova’s big point play costing her. #RG20
— 🇨🇦Jon🇨🇦 (@JorgeTwtsTennis) October 8, 2020
While Kenin’s level of play looked like it could match her Australian Open triumph, there were signs towards the end of that opening set of Kvitova’s return to her own best.
The first four games of the second set went to serve, with both players needing cagey holds to thwart the opponent. It was in the fifth game that Kvitova missed on multiple opportunities to hold and then saw Kenin take her first opportunity to go 3-2 up.
Kenin went up 40-15 on serve next game only to drop the next three points and face a break-point. She saved that and went on to save three more in the same game to turn things around and clinch it after more than 10 minutes.
Things went on serve till Kenin had her chance to serve out the match but the experienced Kvitova kept her cool to extract three break-points. The American saved one, but Kvitova broke back to level it at 5-5.
Kenin wasn’t done though as she broke for the second time and then warded off a break-point to pocket the match in straight sets.
The American will take on Swiatek who had earlier romped past Nadia Podoroska in the first semifinal on the day. Tomorrow, the men’s singles semifinals will see Rafael Nadal up against Diego Schwartzman and Novak Djokovic playing Stefanos Tsitsipas.