Paris, Oct 8 (efe-epa).- Sofia Kenin, 21, and 19-year-old Iga Swiatek beat their respective opponents here Thursday to advance to the final of the 2020 French Open.
While Kenin, the reigning Australian Open champion, knows what it means to win a Grand Slam tournament, Saturday’s contest will be a new experience for the Polish teenager, who becomes the youngest player in nearly two decades to reach the French Open women’s final.
Kenin, who was born in Russia but has lived most of her life in the United States, is ranked sixth in the world. Swiatek is No. 54, though she is expected to vault up the ranking by virtue of her performance at Roland Garros, regardless of the outcome on Saturday.
Swiatek came into the semifinal against Nadia Podoroska having won 12 out of 12 sets in the tournament and she displayed the same form against the young woman from Argentina who herself defied the odds by getting to the final four as a qualifier.
En route to the semis, Swiatek demolished tournament top seed and world No. 2 Simona Halep, who eliminated the Pole in the fourth round last year in her French Open debut.
It took Swiatek just 69 minutes to defeat Podoroska 6-2, 6-1.
“It seems unreal. On one hand I know that I can play great tennis. On the other hand, it’s kind of surprising for me. I never would have thought that I’m going to be in the final. It’s crazy,” Swiatek said afterward. “It’s amazing for me, like a dream come true.”
Kenin, whose path to the semifinals was a lot rockier than Swiatek’s, had to work harder to beat Petra Kvitova 6-4, 7-5.
The Czech two-time Wimbledon champion had yet to lose a set in the tournament before facing Kenin, who acknowledged that Kvitova tested her.
“She’s such a tough player, she’s got a great aggressive game and such a big serve. I knew I had to bring my ‘A’ game in order to win. I’m super proud of myself, it was a great match, and I’m super happy,” the American said.
For the 30-year-old Kvitova, it was a second loss in two appearances in the French Open semis. Her first try was in 2012, four years before the knife attack that sidelined the Czech star for more than a year.
The only previous encounter between Kenin and Swiatek came in the third round of the 2016 French Open Juniors. The Pole won in straight sets on that occasion. EFE