American Sofia Kenin faces the biggest challenge of her career when she takes on home favourite and top seed Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the semifinal of the ongoing Australian Open.
Having never gone past the round of 16 of the Grand Slams, Kenin surprised her camp and the crowd at the Melbourne Park when she came from a set down to oust high flying fellow American Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 6-0 to advance past the R16 for the 1st time ever.
American counterparts, Gauff and Kenin
The Russian born American went even 1 step further with a 1st ever Grand Slam semifinal appearance when she defeated Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. The result seemed flattering but it didn’t depict the full story as Jabeur did stifle Kenin. The unseeded 25-year-old Tunisia was hitting her 1st serve at an average speed of 98mph and hit 5 aces past Kenin. However, she was let down by her own errors, 36 unforced errors one too many in contrast to Kenin’s 16.
Ons Jabeur who had also made a name for herself by becoming the 1st ever Arab woman representative in a Grand Slam 4th round when she defeated Caroline Wozniacki in 3 sets 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in 3rd round and then a 4th round 7-6(7-4), 6-1 victory over China’s Qiang Wang(27) to reach the quarterfinal.
The mountain before the 21-year-old Kenin is the number 1 seed and homegirl, 23-year-old Barty who will most definitely enjoy the majority of the support at the Rod Laver Arena(having also become the 1st Australian to reach the semifinal in 36 years). Though the odds and h2h stats are against Kenin, a victory is not entirely impossible as Kenin pull a surprise 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 6-4 win over the Australian at the Rogers Cup, Toronto last August. Nevertheless, Barty still holds a 4-1 h2h win over Kenin, including a 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 4th round victory at Roland Garros last year.
Is another shocker in the making in the women’s draw? Tune in to AO semifinal to find out.
This Blog is cross-published
Thank you all for time and support.