Former World No.1 and two-time Grand Slam winner Spain’s Garbine Muguruza beat fourth-seed Romanian Simona Halep in the second semifinal of Australia Open 2020 women’s singles at the Rod Laver Arena on Friday to enter her third career grand slam final, setting up the summit clash against 21-year-old American Sofia Kenin, who beat top-seed and home favourite Ashleigh Barty earlier in the day.
Muguruza, unseeded in the tournament, took two hours and five minutes to vanquish the former World No.1 and two-time Grand Slam champion 7-6, 7-5. En route to her maiden Australian Open final, Muguruza beat fifth-seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-1, 6-2 in the third round before getting the better of ninth-seed Kikki Bertens of Netherlands 6-3, 6-3.
In the quarters, the Sapinard beat 30th-seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-3 and then downed Halep.
Earlier in the day, 21-year-old Kenin held her nerve at the big stage, something she has shown earlier knocking out fellow American Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals. Whatever the result may be of the final, Kenin is certain to break into the top 10 Rankings in WTA when the tournament ends.
“Honestly I’m just so speechless,” said Kenin after the match. “I’ve dreamed of this moment since I was five years old. I’ve worked so hard to get here.”
After conceding the first set, Barty was ahead in the tie-breaker 6-4, but failed to capitalise and Kenin showed tenacity at the back of the court. The win makes Kenin the youngest Melbourne finalist since 2008.
In the men’s singles, the first semi-final will be a blockbuster affair with third seed Roger Federer, who, after his escape act against American Tennys Sandgren in the quarter-final, will be up against second-seed Novak Djokovic, who brushed aside the big-serving Canadian, Milos Raonic, in straight sets in the quarters.
The other semi-final will be between the next generations top guns Australia’s Dominic Thiem – fifth-seed – who got the better of Rafael Nadal in four sets in the quarters on Wednesday and seventh-seed German Alexander Zverev, who fell Stan Wawrinka in the quarters.