Sports News Today January 30: American Sofia Kenin beat top-seed and hometown favourite Ashleigh Barty 7-6(6) 7-5 in a nail-biting semifinal at the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday to seal her first Grand Slam final appearance in women’s singles of Australian Open 2020.
The 21-year-old 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.
She now awaits the winner of the other semi-final between fourth seed Simona Halep of Romania and Spain’s Garbine Muguruza. Defending champion Naomi Osaka was knocked out in the third round by Gauff.
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.