Sofia Kenin claimed her first title since winning the Australian Open as she beat Anna-Lena Friedsam in the final of the inaugural Lyon Open

World number five Kenin landed her fifth career title and second of the season at the expense of Friedsam, whose resurgence following a series of shoulder injuries was halted as the top seed prevailed 6-2 4-6 6-4.

Kenin came through a gruelling battle in her semi-final against Alison van Uytvanck but was considerably more comfortable in the opening set here, grabbing two early breaks to open up a 5-2 lead.

It was not until game two of the second set that Friedsam got into her stride, winning a break of her own to get things back on serve but then missing an opportunity in the sixth as Kenin held her nerve to tie it up at 3-3.

Undeterred, the 26-year-old Friedsam finished the set strongly, firing three aces and winning a break point at 5-4 to tee up what might have been a tense final set had she not fallen 4-1 down in the decider.

Freidsam had no answer as Kenin grew in confidence and went a double break up behind some exquisite drop shots.

The world number 45 broke back and had some hope at 4-3 but Kenin came into the match on a six-match winning streak against German players and held firm to extend that run.

Sofia Kenin will face the unseeded Anna-Lena Friedsam in the final of the Lyon Open after battling to victory in three sets against Alison van Uytvanck.

Australian Open champion Kenin was taken the distance by Van Uytvanck, who fired down 22 aces in the match.

It has proved an eventful week for Kenin, who saved match point against Romanian qualifier Jaqueline Cristian before stumbling into a third set in her quarter-final, despite establishing a 6-1 5-2 lead over Oceane Dodin.

But the world number five, who is the top seed in Lyon, held firm to prevail 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-2) and reach a sixth career final.

Germany's Friedsam, the world number 136, will enter that contest as a buoyant underdog after winning 6-3 3-6 6-2 against Russia's Daria Kasatkina, taking the spoils after eight breaks of serve in a contest that clocked in at two hours and six minutes.

"It feels great. It makes me feel that all the hard work has paid off. I'm super proud," Friedsam told the WTA's official website.

"She's a great player and very solid. She doesn't make any bad decisions. I tried to play to my strengths.

"I tried to use my power, push her out of court and get to the net. I think it worked today, but it was a hard fight and a hard battle."

Sofia Kenin moved into the semi-finals of the Lyon Open after overcoming a tricky spell midway through her match with Oceane Dodin.

The Australian Open champion saved a match point against Romanian qualifier Jaqueline Cristian on Thursday but seemed to be finding some commanding form against Dodin as she eased into a 6-1 5-2 lead.

However, the American rather meekly allowed her opponent - ranked 130 in the world - to force a second-set tie break and then threw away a 5-1 advantage as the match went the distance.

Kenin was ultimately pleased with her performance, though, after coming through 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 following over two hours on court.

"It was still not perfect today, but I definitely feel like I found my rhythm," she said. "I was playing well, dictating well.

"It was a bit of a strange match. I was up, and somehow managed to not close it out there, but overall, I think it was a good match. I played some good tennis, some good points, and I'm happy with the way that I found my rhythm after yesterday."

Kenin will face fifth seed Alison Van Uytvanck in the last four, the Belgian having dispatched Caroline Garcia in an impressive 6-2 6-2 victory.

The second semi-final will feature Russian Daria Kasatkina, who battled past Camila Giorgi in three sets, against German Anna-Lena Friedsam, who knocked out eighth seed Viktoria Kuzmova.

Sofia Kenin avoided a shock second-round exit at the Lyon Open, saving a match point as she came from a set and a break down to beat Jacqueline Cristian on Thursday.

Australian Open champion Kenin dug in to avoid a straight-sets loss to 174-ranked Cristian and clinch a 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-4 triumph that booked a quarter-final clash with Oceane Dodin, who received a walkover from Jil Teichmann due to the Swiss' ankle injury.

The world number five acknowledged she was not at her best against the Romanian qualifier, who she has practiced with and played doubles alongside at the Internationaux de Strasbourg two years ago.

"She's a tough player. I was just fighting every point. I obviously wasn't playing my best but she was playing some really good tennis, so I'm just happy to have won," Kenin said in an on-court interview.

"I played doubles with her two years ago in Strasbroug and I've hit with her so I know her, we're good friends."

Cristian staved off a set point in the opener before edging the tie-break with a sublime backhand, and she looked on course for victory when she engineered a match point at 5-3 in the second.

Kenin denied Cristian with a drive volley and then stopped her serving out the contest in the next game, with that momentum enabling her to take the match the distance.

After failing to hold serve for the win, Kenin produced a powerful cross-court forehand to claim a decisive break in the third and book her place in the next round.

Daria Kasatkina overcame Irina Bara 6-3 6-2 and Viktoria Kuzmova downed Tereza Martincova 6-4 4-6 6-4 to reach the last eight.

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin eased into the last 16 of the Lyon Open on Wednesday, but Alize Cornet let a lead slip to crash out.

Kenin is the top seed in France this week and belatedly secured her first WTA Tour victory since a major breakthrough in Melbourne.

The American had fallen at the first hurdle in both Qatar and Dubai in recent weeks, but she had no such troubles against Vitalia Diatchenko, advancing 6-4 6-3.

A pair of early breaks in the opener saw Kenin into a 4-1 lead, although opportunities for both players punctuated the contest.

The second set began with three straight games going against the serve, before Kenin settled the match at the second attempt with her sixth successful break point from 18 attempts.

Back on the winning trail, Kenin levelled her career record against Diatchenko at 1-1 after a second-round defeat at Wimbledon in 2018.

The only other round-of-32 clash on Wednesday saw France's Oceane Dodin overcome Mandy Minella in straight sets.

Meanwhile, Kenin's fellow seeds Caroline Garcia - a 7-5 6-2 winner against Ysaline Bonaventure - and Alison Van Uytvanck - triumphing over Viktoriya Tomova - enjoyed victories as they played last-16 matches.

But home hopeful Cornet fell short of the quarter-finals in a 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 reverse at the hands of Camila Giorgi.

Cornet led by a mini-break three times in the second-set tie-break, before Giorgi edged her opponent out and then dominated the decider.

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.

Sofia Kenin lost her first WTA Tour match since winning the Australian Open triumph to crash out of the Dubai Tennis Championships in the first round.

Kenin claimed her maiden grand slam title in Melbourne and then helped the United States to a place in the Fed Cup Finals with a 3-2 win over Latvia.

However, despite winning a tight opening set on Tuesday, she was defeated 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-3 by St Petersburg Ladies Trophy runner-up Elena Rybakina, whose reward is a second-round tie against Katerina Siniakova, who overcame Karolina Muchova 6-4 4-6 6-0.

"I didn't get nervous at all because I knew it was going to be tough," Rybakina, who was playing her sixth match in eight days, said.

"Actually, I prepared myself like it's a good practice. I didn't expect to win. I tried to do my best, but I was not nervous. I didn't think about her winning the Australian Open because I know that now anyone can beat anyone."

Kenin's defeat was not the only shock, however, with Belinda Bencic's defence of her title proving to be short-lived as she let a brilliant start slip in a remarkable loss to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

World number four Bencic was in complete control as she took the first 19 points but was unable to prevent Pavlyuchenkova building momentum in an extraordinary turnaround.

After losing seven of the first eight games, the Russian won 12 of the final 13 to cap a brilliant 1-6 6-1 6-1 triumph – her 15th win against top-five opposition and her second of 2020.

Bencic's capitulation followed on from another surprise result, with Jennifer Brady claiming a 6-2 6-1 victory over Elina Svitolina.

Brady – who stunned world number one Ash Barty in Brisbane last month – needed just an hour to send the world number six, who won in Dubai in 2017 and 2018, packing.

Kristina Mladenovic cruised past Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets to tee up a tie with second seed Karolina Pliskova.

Veronika Kudermetova got the better of Dayana Yastremska, while Petra Martic dispatched Hsieh Su-wei and Aryna Sabalenka saw off Maria Sakkari 6-2 4-6 6-1.

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and Serena Williams gave the United States a 2-0 lead over Latvia in their Fed Cup qualifier on Friday.

Kenin blitzed Anastasija Sevastova 6-2 6-2 to get the USA up and running in Everett, while Williams battled past 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-3).

Barely a week after breaking through for her first grand slam title in Melbourne, Kenin was in the American state of Washington to represent her country.

The world number seven and 21-year-old surged past Sevastova before 23-time major winner Williams eventually saw off Ostapenko in the second rubber to improve her win-loss record at the Fed Cup to 14-0.

"It's been a long journey. It wasn't easy," Kenin said. "But I was super happy to come here and play with the team."

It was a tough day for former world number one and two-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka, who was reduced to tears after losing to unheralded Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Osaka, whose title defence at Melbourne Park was sensationally ended by teenager Coco Gauff in the third round, was swept aside 6-0 6-3 against Sorribes Tormo.

Japan trail Spain 2-0 in the tie after Carla Suarez Navarro accounted for Misaki Doi 6-3 6-4.

Switzerland, led by Belinda Bencic, Germany and Slovakia also boast 2-0 leads against Canada, Brazil and Great Britain respectively.

The other ties – Netherlands against Belarus, Romania versus Russia and Belgium against Kazakhstan – are deadlocked at 1-1.

New Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin can end her career with a double-figure grand-slam haul and will be world number one "by summer".

That is according to renowned coach Rick Macci, who was taken aback by Kenin's skill and mentality when the American sensation had her first lesson with him at the age of five.

Macci, who has also coached the likes of Serena and Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova and Jennifer Capriati, knew Kenin was destined for greatness as he continued to nurture her talents until she was 12.

So there were no eyebrows raised from the Ohio native when the 21-year-old beat Garbine Muguruza to claim her maiden major title at Melbourne Park last Saturday, and he is in no doubt it will prove the first of many for the world number seven.

Macci told Omnisport: "I'd say by summer she'll be on top of the rankings, it's right around the corner.

"She'll be in the top five or 10 for the next 10 years, she's not going anywhere because when you show up to play, she's always going to be there.

"People don't understand what they are looking at, I can see her winning double figures grand slams, she might get 15 before she's done.

"She's the real deal, this is [Martina] Hingis, [Simona] Halep but with a tremendous mental strength that doesn't blink. She expected to win the final [against Muguruza], her father [and coach, Alex] did and I did."

Macci says there is no chance the Russia-born prodigy will become too embraced in off-court distractions with her new-found name.

He said: "That will never happen, this is a different animal. She is no one-hit wonder, there is so much stability, structure and focus inside this girl.

"She was at the Rick Macci Tennis Academy in Boca Raton [Florida] before they went to Australia getting a massage. I said, 'So what's the game plan?'. She looked at me and said, 'To be number one in the world'.

"It was not in an arrogant way, but in a matter of fact. You can say that, but she has the goods to back it up.

"She's shown you don't have to be six feet tall, you don't need a huge serve or to have tremendous power. If you understand the geometry of the court, you take the ball early and it's a game of inches from one ear to the other.

"This girl, her mental strength is unsurpassed and she's a great role model."

Sofia Kenin sent shock waves around Melbourne by winning the Australian Open 16 years after esteemed coach Rick Macci was jolted by the same "Sonic Boom" in Florida.

Kenin bolted to her maiden grand slam with a 4-6 6-2 6-2 victory over Garbine Muguruza on Saturday at the age of 21.

The American prodigy took out world number one and home favourite Ash Barty in the semi-final before downing Muguruza in her first major final on Rod Laver Arena.

Not many tipped Kenin to win the first slam of the year, but the Russia-born 14th seed's triumph came as no surprise to Macci ​– who was staggered by her ability and attitude when he gave a first coaching lesson at his academy in Boca Raton.

The United States Professional Tennis Association Hall of Famer told Omnisport: "She came to me at five years old and the very first lesson I gave her, her ability to focus and just the way she was locked in already mentally was really startling.

"For most players that's the last piece of the puzzle, so that was the first the first thing that jumped out at me.

"Even though the racket was almost as big as her, I had her take the ball right off the bounce and she did it so easily, it was innate timing. You can teach people timing, but it can be hard to take in.

"So right after that I'm going 'what is this?' Mentally, there is a focus that I have never seen in a child this young and her hand-eye coordination just to take the ball right off the bounce. I said 'this girl is the scariest little creature I've ever seen'.

"I knew it straight away, then as time went on I said she'd be top 10 in the world by age 20 and win many grand slams, I was a year off but I think it was the age-eligibility rule that held her back a little bit.

"When she started competing, even at aged seven, her thirst for competition was just so uncanny. She was so competitive and she would say 'I never lost, I just ran out of time'.

"Every time she lost, and I had her play boys a lot even though she was a little pip-squeak, the next day or that afternoon she'd want to play them again.

"It was a like a mosquito that wouldn't leave me alone but you want that, you want people to feel pain and want to come back for more.

"To already have that inside of you when are all about the competition, that is how you handle pressure better and that has been in there since five years old, so this doesn't surprise me at all."

Kenin's father, Alex, took his daughter to the Rick Macci Tennis Academy knowing Macci played a huge part in nurturing the talents of the likes of Serena and Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Jennifer Capriati and Maria Sharapova.

Macci was so struck by the newest major winner's natural talent he gave her a nickname that is very apt given the rapid progress she has made.

"At a young age people were calling her Sofia, Sonia. Just the way she played I combined the two and called her Sonic and then when she picked it up off the bounce it would be boom, so her nickname has always been Sonic Boom," the Ohio native added.

"Here we are a lot of these things the media people can see now on the big stage, this is what was unfolding aged five, six, seven, eight years old."

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

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