Ash Barty survived a back-and-forth encounter against the in-form Garbine Muguruza to set up a date with familiar foe Petra Kvitova, who ended Ons Jabeur's run at the Qatar Open.

World number one Barty needed three sets to see off Australian Open finalist Muguruza in Doha, while Kvitova won a pair of tie-breaks in her quarter-final with Jabeur. 

Veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova earned a share of tournament history with an upset win over fourth seed Belinda Bencic.

The Russian now faces Aryna Sabalenka, who came from behind to defeat Saisai Zheng in the day's opening match.


BARTY OUT TO CONTINUE KVITOVA RUN

Barty endured a second-set dip in her 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 beating of Muguruza, who has reached at least the last eight in each of her five tournaments in 2020.

The Australian, playing at her first event since reaching the semis of her home slam in Melbourne, did not face a single break point in the opening set but was met with a much sterner test in the second.

Barty raced into a 5-2 lead in the decider, though, and fought back from 40-15 in the final game to set up a showdown with Kvitova, who she has beaten in their previous four meetings - including a straight-sets win at the Australian Open.

Kvitova, the 2018 champion, edged to a 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4) win over Jabeur, who has enjoyed a stellar year thus far and became the first Arab woman to reach a major quarter-final in Melbourne.


MILESTONE FOR KUZNETSOVA 

Kuznetsova was in devastating form against Bencic, hitting 39 winners and just 15 unforced errors in a 6-4 6-4 triumph.

A runner-up in 2004 and 2007, Kuznetsova now has 19 match wins in Doha, which ties the record held by retired former world number one Caroline Wozniacki.

"I have amazing memories," said Kuznetsova, who is in to her first Doha semi since 2007. 

"It was my first time when I beat Justine [Henin] here [in the 2004 semi-finals] and it was like I was a kid, I was 19. 

"I climbed from number 30-something to number 13 or number 14 and it was amazing. It was so long ago it was like another life, but it really happened to me - I didn't watch it in the movies."

Sabalenka will try to end Kuznetsova's run after a 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 defeat of Zheng.

Ons Jabeur continued her fine start to 2020 with the biggest win of her career as she stunned third seed Karolina Pliskova at the Qatar Open.

The Tunisian has surged to a career-high ranking of 44 having made history by reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January.

What it is rapidly developing into a breakthrough year saw another high point on Wednesday as she emerged victorious from a gruelling three-set battle with third seed Pliskova.

Kiki Bertens was another to suffer a surprise loss as Zheng Saisai came from a set down to see off the seventh seed.

Belinda Bencic, Petra Kvitova and Aryna Sabalenka all progressed, while world number one Ashleigh Barty was one of two players to receive a walkover into the quarter-finals, where she will meet Garbine Muguruza.

JABEUR MAKES MORE HISTORY

It has already been an impressive year for Jabeur.

She added another achievement to an increasingly impressive CV by progressing to the last eight in Doha.

Having lost to Simona Halep in a third-set tie-break in Dubai, Jabeur made sure to finish the job against Pliskova, hitting 33 winners to prevail 6-4 3-6 6-3 in a thriller and knock out the 2017 champion.


ZHENG BATTLES BACK

Few would have predicted Bertens succumbing to Zheng considering she dropped just one set en route to the St. Petersburg Open title earlier this month.

There appeared little sign of a shock when Bertens took the first set, but Zheng superbly battled back to claim a 3-6 6-3 6-4 win after two hours and 10 minutes.

Eighth seed Kvitova came through a frenetic contest with Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 5-7 6-1, while Bencic and Sabalenka earned straight-sets victories over Yulia Putintseva and Maria Sakkari.

MUGURUZA SETS UP BARTY CLASH

Though she was unable to overcome Sofia Kenin in the Australian Open final, Muguruza has been a player revitalised in 2020.

A clash with rising star Dayana Yastremska presented a significant hurdle, but she cleared it in relatively routine fashion.

Despite hitting only two winners, Muguruza capitalised on 29 unforced errors from Yastremska as the two-time grand slam champion wrapped up a 6-2 6-4 success.

Barty, whose meeting with Elena Rybakina was cancelled after the Kazakh withdrew with an abductor strain, is next for Muguruza. Svetlana Kuznetsova, meanwhile, progressed as Amanda Anisimova pulled out because of illness.

Ash Barty swept into the last 16 of the Qatar Open on Tuesday with a straight-sets dismantling of Laura Siegemund.

In her first match since the Australian Open, world number one Barty triumphed 6-3 6-2 in her opening match at the WTA Premier event.

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin endured another difficult day, though, losing to 19-year-old Dayana Yastremska, while defending champion Elise Mertens also bowed out.

Karolina Pliskova, Belinda Bencic and Petra Kvitova all advanced, while Melbourne runner-up Garbine Muguruza was in imperious form as she dispatched Ajla Tomljanovic for the loss of just three games.

There were also wins for Saisai Zheng over Vera Zvonareva, Ons Jabeur against Jennifer Brady, Maria Sakkari over Tereza Martincova and Svetlana Kuznetsova against Iga Swiatek.

BARTY BLASTS OUT OF THE BLOCKS

Playing for the first time since losing to Kenin in the Australian Open semi-finals, Barty produced a disciplined performance to beat Siegemund in 73 minutes.

Barty hit 19 winners to 16 unforced errors but admitted she lost focus at some key moments.

"Happy overall to be able to switch on when I really needed to. Disappointing to have a few lapses in concentration but also a credit to my opponent, she came up with some really good stuff in runs to be able to break me a few times," she said.

Barty will face Elena Rybakina next after she battled to beat Alison Van Uytvanck 5-7 6-2 7-6 (10-8).

KENIN WOES CONTINUE

Kenin has now lost three times since lifting the first grand slam singles title of the season, the American slumping to a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) loss to Yastremska.

"It's really frustrating," she said. "Obviously coming off of Melbourne where I felt I was playing the best tennis of my life coming down to playing, not the worst tennis, but not playing the tennis I want to be playing."

Yastremska will now meet Muguruza, who wasted little time in beating Tomljanovic 6-1 6-2.

 

PLISKOVA CHARGES ON AS SEEDS PROGRESS

Pliskova was beaten in the quarter-finals in Dubai by Rybakina but looks determined to go the distance in Doha, producing an accomplished performance to oust Bernarda Pera 6-3 6-0.

Fourth seed Bencic was given a tougher time by Veronika Kudermetova before claiming a 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7-4) win that took more than two and a half hours.

Aryna Sabalenka edged a tight encounter with Anett Kontaveit 7-5 2-6 7-5, while Kvitova ended the challenge of Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6 6-3 6-0.

Defending champion Mertens is out, though, falling to Yulia Putintseva 4-6 6-3 6-2.

Defending WTA Qatar Open champion Elise Mertens strode confidently into the second round with a straight-sets win over Wang Qiang.

The Belgian, seeded 16th in Doha, produced a dominant display to triumph 6-1 6-2 and set up a meeting with either Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Yulia Putintseva.

Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza endured a much tougher outing at the WTA Premier 5 event than Mertens, requiring three sets to see off Daria Kasatkina.

The two-time grand slam champion prevailed 7-5 5-7 6-3 after two hours and 49 minutes, with Ajla Tomljanovic up next for the Spaniard.

Jelena Ostapenko, who won the French Open in 2017, was pushed all the way in a 7-5 2-6 7-5 victory over Jil Teichmann, while top seed Ash Barty learned that she will face Laura Siegemund following the German's defeat of Yaroslava Shvedova.

Elsewhere in the draw, Veronika Kudermetova dumped out Kristina Mladenovic despite losing the second set 6-0, Svetlana Kuznetsova ousted Cagla Buyukakcay, and Karolina Muchova was too strong for Magda Linette. 

Tomljanovic beat fellow Australian Priscilla Hon, and there were also wins for Bernarda Pera, Alison Van Uytvanck, Amanda Anisimova and Ons Jabeur.

Top seed Simona Halep saved a match point in a gripping battle with Ons Jabeur before sealing her place in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Halep was on the brink of a surprise defeat to the in-form world number 45, but hung in there to win a thriller 1-6 6-2 7-6 (9-7) on Wednesday.

The two-time grand slam champion and Jabeur were given great backing from passionate Romanian and Tunisian supporters in a pulsating contest that swung one way and the other.

Halep appeared destined to complete the turnaround with ease when she led 3-0 in the final set, but the tenacious Jabeur was relishing the battle and showed great spirit to take the upper hand at 6-5.

The unseeded Jabeur was broken to love when serving for the match, though, and a double-fault gifted 2015 champion Halep a 4-2 lead in the tie-break, yet there was more drama to come.

Jabeur fended off three match points to earn one of her own, but Halep showed her grit to win the next two points before her gutsy opponent drilled a forehand long to end a tense two-hour contest.

Halep will face Aryna Sabalenka in the last eight after the seventh seed defeated Elise Mertens 6-4 6-3.

Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza advanced with a hard-fought Veronika Kudermetova, winning 7-5 4-6 6-4 two days after knocking out the returning Kim Clijsters.

Elena Rybakina, a three-time finalist this year, got the better of Katerina Siniakova for the second successive week, a 6-3, 6-3 victory setting up a meeting with Karolina Pliskova.

Second seed Pliskova lost just three games in emphatic defeat of Kristina Mladenovic, while Petra Martic, Jennifer Brady and Anett Kontaveit were also victorious.

Kim Clijsters took solace in feeling like she had periods of dominance against Garbine Muguruza, who ensured the four-time major champion's comeback began with a defeat.

Making her first appearance on the WTA Tour since the 2012 US Open, former world number one Clijsters fell to a 6-2 7-6 (8-6) defeat against Australian Open finalist Muguruza in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The 36-year-old dropped her first two service games in the second set but managed to get things back on serve and force a tie-break, something she was proud of despite her early exit.

Clijsters said: "I felt obviously the second set was a big difference compared to the first set. My timing in the first set, my footing, just kept looking for it.

"I felt a few times it was there, then it would be off a few points. At times I felt like I was close. I was seeing the ball clear. Just started reading her game better, as well, getting used to her pace a little bit.

"Yeah, second set I felt I was really in the match. I felt like for a while I was dominating some of the points.

"I think that's a good feeling to have, knowing the way I started the first set and then the way I was able to get back into that second set, with the type of tennis I played, it's something that is the positive about this match. I'll take that with me for the next matches.

"I had a good feeling out there. I do feel a little bit of, I'm not going to say relief, but a feeling that the pace I can handle."

Muguruza accepted she went into the match completely unsure of what to expect, with Clijsters representing something of an unknown quantity, though she is now anticipating the Belgian to cause problems for plenty of players.

"I think she played very well, especially in the second set at the end," Muguruza said. "It was very tight.

"I think this is just special because I didn't know how [Clijsters was] going to play. I know she can play incredible - she did at some point play [at an] incredible level. I haven't seen her play in so long, so it's like, 'Okay, what's going to happen?'

"I'm sure she's going to get better and better, for sure, [and] give us a lot of trouble."

Clijsters' fellow Belgian Elise Mertens was in action earlier in the day and had significantly fewer issues, cruising past Wang Qiang in straight sets.

Mertens needed a little over an hour to secure her progression, ultimately running out a comfortable 6-3 6-0 victor – winning the second set in just 25 minutes.

World number 18 Alison Riske suffered a shock 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 defeat at the hands of Ons Jabeur, who set up a second-round clash with Simona Halep.

The Tunisian, who is ranked 45th in the world, eventually came out on top and owed much to her ability to hit a winner, outscoring Riske 28 to 11 in that metric as she claimed a seventh career win over a top-20 opponent.

Barbora Strycova came through a lengthy encounter with 18-year-old Amanda Animisova, beating the American 6-3 (7-3) 2-6 6-4 over two hours and 33 minutes, taking advantage of her opponent's proneness to errors.

Marketa Vondrousova was the highest-ranked player in action on Tuesday, and she dispatched Anastasija Sevastova with relative ease, winning 6-3 6-2.

Kim Clijsters was denied a dream return to the WTA Tour as she was beaten in straight sets by Garbine Muguruza at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Muguruza, runner-up at the recent Australian Open, triumphed 6-2 7-6 (8-6) in one hour and 37 minutes on Monday.

Playing her first match since losing to Laura Robson in the second round of the US Open in August 2012, the Belgian was rusty at times as she racked up 10 double faults and gave up 15 break points.

However, Clijsters' fight and impressive groundstrokes in the second set would have given her plenty of hope for the months ahead.

Clijsters' opponent changed when Kiki Bertens withdrew from the event after winning in St Petersburg, but in-form Muguruza represented a similarly daunting first task in her comeback contest.

The 36-year-old was broken in a 10-point opening game and dropped serve again later in the first set.

She forced her first break points as Muguruza served for the opener at 5-2 but could not convert three opportunities as the Spaniard held.

A slow start also impacted four-time major champion Clijsters in the second set, as Muguruza claimed an immediate break and then struck once more in her opponent's next service game to move 3-0 up.

Clijsters showed grit and broke Muguruza for the first time in game four and later superbly claimed a second break to level matters, eventually forcing a tie-break.

She won the first two points of the breaker only for her younger rival to go on a streak of four that included a superb cross-court forehand winner.

At 6-5 in front, Muguruza hit a forehand long on her opening match point but she ultimately sealed victory with her next opportunity thanks to an unreturned serve

Kim Clijsters revealed she could not ignore the recurring temptation to come out of retirement as she prepares to make her WTA Tour comeback against Garbine Muguruza.

The former world number one will come up against Muguruza in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday, seven and a half years after her last professional match.

Clijsters, who will face Muguruza rather than Kiki Bertens after the world number eight withdrew from the tournament, had to delay her return due to a knee injury.

The 36-year-old four-time grand slam singles champion raised eyebrows last September when announcing she would play at the highest level again.

Clijsters had been thinking of resuming her career for some time and encouraging words from her husband were also a factor in making the bold move to get back on court.

"It was a feeling that I had inside, a feeling that I had inside for a little while," said the Belgian, who has also won two major doubles titles.

"Once in a while that feeling would go away when I was home with the kids. A couple times it would come back. It got stronger and stronger."

She added: "I talked to my husband. He was like, 'Stop worrying about why and ask yourself: Why not?'.

"He made a very good point. I was like, 'There is no 'why not'. Why wouldn't I do it?"

Muguruza will be playing for the first time since her Australian Open final defeat to Sofia Kenin.

Bianca Andreescu has further delayed her comeback after withdrawing from the Dubai Tennis Championships, where Australian Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza has been handed a wild card.

US Open champion Andreescu suffered a knee injury at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen last October during a match against Karolina Pliskova and has since pulled out of the Auckland Classic and Australian Open in 2020.

She had hoped to represent Canada in their Fed Cup qualifying tie in Switzerland last week but ended up not playing there and has now revealed the WTA Premier event in Dubai will also come too soon for her.

"I'm very sad to announce that I won't be able to compete in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next week," Andreescu said on Wednesday.

"I'm not at 100 per cent yet and, following my team and doctor's recommendation, I don't want to take any risk to re-injure my knee. 

"Each day I get closer to being back to the court competing, but Dubai is just too soon. Hope I can come and play in Dubai next year."

Muguruza will join the field, though, after landing a wild card for the tournament, which begins next Monday and will also feature the returning Kim Clijsters.

"Garbine has been ranked as high as number one in the world and is clearly once again playing at the very top of her game," said tournament director Salah Tahlak. 

"In the 20th year of the WTA event in Dubai, we can all look forward to seeing if she can become our 14th ladies' champion in what is certain to be a fascinating week."

Simona Halep will be the top seed, with Pliskova and Elina Svitolina involved along with defending champion Belinda Bencic and Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin.

Russia-born American star Sofia Kenin revealed Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams provided inspiration for her breakthrough Australian Open success.

Kenin, who moved to the United States when she was a child, claimed her first grand slam title on Saturday, fighting back to beat Garbine Muguruza 4-6 6-2 6-2 in the final at Melbourne Park.

The 21-year-old was to leapfrog 23-time major champion Williams to reach number seven in the WTA rankings following her triumph, becoming the top-ranked American player.

Kenin will now join her role model on the USA team for an upcoming Fed Cup qualifier, but she was also keen to highlight her Russian roots and the "feisty" approach she learned from Sharapova, a five-time grand slam winner.

"I definitely think [my Russian heritage] helped me," Kenin told a news conference. "I've looked up to Maria Sharapova, Anna Kournikova. I followed their matches when I was little.

"I feel like I got the feisty [approach]. I saw what it's like. She won a grand slam at 17, Maria, which I remember watching on TV. Yeah, I feel like that definitely helped me.

"I have part of Russian stuff inside me, the fight that I have, trying just to be confident, do what I do best.

"And thank you to my parents for giving me the American dream. [Being the American number one] is exciting. I'm so happy. I was told if I would win, I'd be number seven [in the world].

"It's such an honour. I love representing the US. I just love it. It's like an honour.

"Everything is coming into place, a dream come true. Everything I've done, all the hard work I've been doing is paying off.

"It hasn't sunk in yet. Everything is just still a blur for me. I just can't believe what happened. Yeah, it's just great. I feel like I'm doing some great things for American tennis.

"It's such an honour. I've watched Serena. I've been following her, all the slams she's been winning. It's a special feeling just to be ahead of her.

"I'm just super excited. I can't wait to compete, be on the same team with her in the Fed Cup."

As well as dropping the first set to Muguruza, Kenin recovered from a love-40 deficit on her serve at 2-2 in the decider.

"I'm so proud. Obviously not many people can do that," she said. "I feel like mental toughness has been a huge part. I've worked on that over the course of the years. It's just paying off.

"I knew I had to take my chance. I had to be brave by playing a two-time grand slam champion. All respect to her. She played a really tough match. Every point was such a battle."

Kenin is the 11th different champion in the 13 grand slams since the start of 2017, yet she was hoping to enjoy a period of dominance going forward.

"I would love to. That would be amazing," she said. "Right now, I mean, I still can't believe what just happened. I need to somehow come down and just let it all sink in.

"Hopefully, I can just keep going, build on everything that I've done these past two weeks, just move forward."

Garbine Muguruza dismissed the notion that she is "back", insisting she never "disappeared" after her return to a grand slam final ended in a three-set loss to Sofia Kenin at the Australian Open.  

Former world number one Muguruza won the opening set but was eventually overhauled by red-hot American sensation Kenin 4-6 6-2 6-2 in Melbourne on Saturday.

Unseeded for the year's opening major following a tough run of form, Muguruza looked like a player reborn since reuniting with former coach Conchita Martinez after the pair split two years ago.

But featuring in her first slam final since winning Wimbledon in 2017, Spanish star Muguruza fell short on Rod Laver Arena.

Asked if she felt like she was back, Muguruza told reporters: "Back? Hmm, okay. If people see it because I'm in a grand slam final, that makes sense.

"But I feel like I was playing a lot of tournaments. I was on the tour, guys. I didn't disappear. I was there. Not reaching final rounds, for sure."

After 14th seed Kenin levelled the match, Muguruza had a golden opportunity to break first in the third set.

The two-time major champion earned three break points at love-40 in the fifth game, however, Kenin hit four groundstroke winners and an ace to hold before eventually breaking herself and powering to a first slam success.

"I'm not very happy about my performance," Muguruza said in her news conference. "I think I had to play better today because she came up with a great level. 

"I think at the important moments I didn't find my shots. I think she found her shots, I didn't find my shots. I did fail a little bit lack of energy after so many matches. Physically it was a tough battle out there. 

"It's just a tough moment. Right now it's tough to be happy, although it has been an incredible tournament. You lose a final, but you got to make it to the final to be able to win or lose. I think she played very well."

"I want to be a champion, I want to be number one in the world," a seven-year-old Sofia Kenin told journalist David Kozlowski 14 years ago. 

Kenin has taken Melbourne by storm over the past fortnight, stunning the tennis world by claiming a maiden grand slam title.

The 21-year-old stormed past Garbine Muguruza 4-6 6-2 6-2 to win the Australian Open women's final on Saturday.

But her first major success should not come as a surprise - the American sensation has always dreamed big.

Aside from her comments to Kozlowski, a video of a baby-faced Kenin speaking about idol Andy Roddick had also been doing the rounds leading into her big dance against Muguruza.

Born in Russia before relocating to the United States with her family, a young Kenin confidently boasted to Tennis TV about her skill and ability to go toe-to-toe with Roddick, who retweeted the throwback video.

Kenin - now located in Florida - has maintained that confidence at Melbourne Park.

After upstaging world number one and French Open champion Ash Barty in the semi-finals, having vanquished 15-year-old compatriot Coco Gauff in the fourth round, Kenin followed that tone.

"I always believed I can. Of course, I didn't have a book. I didn't know exactly when. I feel like at this young age, I think it's incredible," Kenin told reporters after booking her spot in a slam final for the first time.

"Not everyone gets to live this moment, live this dream. I'm just really grateful for it. I've worked so hard. I've put all the efforts into my practices, into my fitness. All the efforts I've been doing, it's got me here. It's just paying off and it's like a dream come true for me."

A product of immigrant parents, Kenin's game reflects that - tenacious, gritty and passionate. Fighting for every point, with her father watching proudly from her players' box.

Those qualities were on show against two-time major winner Muguruza, eyeing a first slam trophy since 2017, having saved two set points in each of the first and second sets in the win over Barty.

Down love-40 in the fifth game of the third set, 14th seed Kenin reeled off five successive points by hitting four groundstroke winners and an ace. That deflated Muguruza, who went on to crumble to hand her young opponent the championship following a double-fault.

Kenin is the youngest American slam champion since Serena Williams at the 2002 US Open.

She is also proof that dreams can come true as a new star sparkles on the WTA Tour.

Sofia Kenin was elated and emotional after fulfilling a childhood dream by winning the Australian Open in her grand slam final debut on Saturday.

Kenin became the youngest American major champion since Serena Williams at the 2002 US Open after rallying past former world number one Garbine Muguruza 4-6 6-2 6-2 in Melbourne on Saturday.

The 21-year-old, the youngest Australian Open finalist since Maria Sharapova in 2008, lost a tense opening set, lasting 52 minutes, but lit up Rod Laver Arena with her tenacious approach to blitz Muguruza.

Fronting the crowd during the trophy ceremony, 14th seed Kenin - who upstaged world number one Ash Barty in the semi-final - said: "I'd like to congratulate Garbine on a great match and a great tournament. I'm sure we are going to have many more finals to come in the future.

"I just want to say that my dream has officially come true. I cannot even describe this feeling, it's so emotional and I worked so hard. I'm just so grateful to be standing here – dreams come true. If you have a dream, go for it and it's going to come true.

"I love this tournament. It's such an honour and a privilege to be here and thank you so much – I'm looking forward to coming back here next year. I would like to thank the crowd – this past two weeks has been the best two weeks of my life.

"Last but not least, I'd like to thank my team, my dad, everyone that is there [in the stadium]. Thank you for making this possible, thank you for putting up with me. I can't believe we are here today, we worked so hard, all of us, so I'm grateful from the bottom of my heart.

"I'd also like to thank my mum, who is back home probably watching this speech. I love you mum! Everyone back home, thank you so much for your support. We worked so hard for this."

Muguruza - reborn since reuniting with former coach Conchita Martinez after the pair split two years ago - was impressive from the baseline and at the net, however the unseeded Spanish star faded as the match wore on.

Serving proved Muguruza's downfall, the two-time grand slam champion double-faulting eight times, including on a second championship point to gift Kenin the title.

"Congratulations, Sofia. You played an incredible match and an incredible tournament," said Muguruza, who was eyeing her first slam title since winning Wimbledon in 2017. "You deserve the trophy. I think we are going to see you play more finals, for sure.

"It has been incredible playing out here in this environment. This court brings an energy, the crowd is what makes it special. We play for you guys, that's what makes the show. Thanks for coming."

Sofia Kenin capped her maiden grand slam final with a trophy after rallying past former world number one Garbine Muguruza to win the Australian Open women's final 4-6 6-2 6-2. 

The youngest Australian Open finalist since Maria Sharapova in 2008, the 21-year-old dropped an absorbing first set against two-time major champion Muguruza in Melbourne on Saturday.

However, the tenacious 14th seed battled back to blitz Muguruza, who double faulted on a second championship point to hand Kenin an unforgettable breakthrough win on Rod Laver Arena, making her the youngest American slam champion since Serena Williams at the 2002 US Open.

A player reborn since reuniting with former coach Conchita Martinez after the pair split two years ago, Muguruza looked on track to clinch a first major title since Wimbledon 2017.

A tense opening under the Rod Laver Arena roof went in favour of Muguruza, who was bidding to become just the fourth woman since 2000 to clinch a slam while unseeded after topping 2018 runner-up Simona Halep in the semis.

The opening three games took 16 minutes to complete, though more importantly, Muguruza broke at the third time of asking for a 2-1 lead after an almost nine-minute third game.

Back-to-back double faults threatened to undo Muguruza but the Spanish star overcame the brief wobble to consolidate - her relentless baseline work forcing errors from Kenin.

There was a brilliant 23-shot rally in the sixth game, which included Kenin dropping her racket in disgust, as Muguruza kept her cool to retain the break.

Kenin - who was only broken once during her shock semi-final win over world number one Ash Barty - then saved four break points to avoid going down a double break, having dug herself out of a 0-40 hole to stay within touching distance.

Muguruza had not faced a break point until the eighth game and she double faulted consecutively to put the set back on serve but reclaimed her advantage immediately before the unrelenting Spaniard served it out with 52 minutes on the clock.

Positive and engaged, Kenin was not ready to surrender in the second set as she kept her dream alive, reducing the 15 unforced errors from the opening set to just four in the second while not facing a break point.

Kenin earned a break point in the fourth game and she did not need a second invitation, converting for a 3-1 lead - Muguruza struggling to maintain her charge as her first serve percentages decreased.

Showing plenty of emotion, Kenin spiked the ball into the ground after holding for a 5-2 advantage before levelling the match and forcing a deciding set.

Muguruza did not hit the ball as crisply in the second set, her winners dropping from 15 to eight, while she only served at 43 per cent as she received treatment heading into the finale.

She threatened to strike first, racing out to a 0-40 lead in the fifth game, but Kenin reeled off five successive points, hitting four winners and an ace to stay on serve.

Muguruza's inability to utilise those three break points came back to haunt her after the red-hot Kenin took a 4-2 lead in the next game - an advantage she never relinquished as the former crumbled dramatically.

 

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN 
Kenin [14] bt Muguruza 4-6 6-2 6-2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS   
Kenin – 28/23
Muguruza – 32/45

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS   
Kenin – 2/0
Muguruza – 9/8

BREAK POINTS WON  
Kenin – 5/6
Muguruza – 2/12

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE  
Kenin – 74
Muguruza – 57

PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE  
Kenin – 64/65
Muguruza – 74/31

TOTAL POINTS  
Kenin – 92
Muguruza – 77

Sofia Kenin has broken through for her first grand slam title, the American 14th seed beating former world number one Garbine Muguruza 4-6 6-2 6-2 in the Australian Open women's final.

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