Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: WTA Tour 2020: Australian Open Final Preview

WTA Tour 2020: Australian Open Final Preview

Tennis player holds racquet

Damien Kayat previews the WTA 2020 Australian Open Final between Garbine Muguruza and Sofia Kenin taking place at 
Melbourne Park.

WTA Tour 2020 | Australian Open | Melbourne Park
Final  - 01 February 2020

Garbine Muguruza (5/10) 
vs Sofia Kenin (14/10) 
The dominance of the ‘Big Three’ in men’s tennis has been one of the most enduring narratives in world sport over the past decade. But the feeling of déjà vu does lend a certain monotony to proceedings. This year has offered some surprises, but Djokovic will be the hot favourite against either Alex Zverev or Dominic Thiem. By contrast, the ladies game has been a virtual free-for-all over the last few years. The slight decline of superpower Serena Williams has opened the floodgates for a host of would-be usurpers. There were seven different Grand Slam finalists in the ladies game last year, with only Serena making two finals. I think it makes for a far more exciting spectacle than a male game dominated by the same eternal conversation. Former World Number One Garbine Muguruza will be looking to add a third leg to her Grand Slam repertoire, while young American Sofia Kenin looks to cap an unprecedented fortnight with an unlikely success.

Garbine Muguruza

Garbine Muguruza managed to come out on top in her physically demanding clash with Simona Halep. The two former World Number Ones played in searing conditions that reached as high as 40 degrees. Halep wilted while Muguruza soared. You get the impression that Muguruza’s off-season ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro served her well on Thursday. Her typically aggressive baseline play was just too much for a visibly distressed Halep. Who would have thought it would be Muguruza, not Nadal, who would be flying the Spanish flag at the weekend? Muguruza’s progress this week as been serene, with just one dropped set against Tomljanovic. She has actually beaten three players this week ranked inside the top 10. 

The decision to reconnect with former coach Conchita Martinez has paid huge dividends for the former French Open and Wimbledon Champion. She endured a tumultuous 2019, splitting with coach Sam Sumyk after a series of poor results.  But she has returned to the tour with a sense of purpose, no doubt emboldened by her reunion with Martinez. A semi-final in Shenzhen was the first glimpse of this rejuvenated Muguruza. She had to battle illness in the early stages of this event but now looks fighting fit. Muguruza will also be aiming to add the 3rd leg to her career Grand Slam push. Were she to win Sunday, Muguruza would have a shot of winning the career Grand Slam in this year’s US Open.   

Sofia Kenin

2019 was such a turbulent year on the women’s tour, with the likes of Bianca Andreescu and Ashleigh Barty emerging as surprise Grand Slam Champions, while Coco Gauff became the in-vogue teenage sensation. It was easy to miss the steady progress of 21-year-old American Sofia Kenin. The WTA's most improved player of 2019 was a child prodigy, seemingly destined for greatness. She was born in Moscow and immigrated to USA, just like her childhood hero Maria Sharapova. But she really came to the world’s attention when she beat Serena Williams at last year’s French Open. She had won the Hobart title in January, but that victory had some symbolic power that she seized on. 

She went on to win in Mallorca before some excellent performances on the American hardcourts. Back-to-back semi-finals in Canada and Cincinnati showed that she wasn’t merely a flash in the pan. She went on to win her 3rd WTA title of the year in Guangzhou before a fairly muted end to the campaign.  She never really entered this year’s first Grand Slam with overwhelming form. But much like fellow Americans Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, she has saved her best tennis for when it matters. She had a fairly routine draw, with crown darling Coco Gauff the only lady to really push her prior to her semi-final. But her victory over Ashleigh Barty in the semi-final was a real statement. The occasionally brash Kenin seems to be built for the big occasion and will take some beating this week. 

Head-to-Head

This will be just their second-ever meeting, with the American claiming the spoils in Beijing last year. Perhaps it’s wrong to read too much into that, given Muguruza’s form at the time. But this will be a completely different beast, with Muguruza clearly quite familiar with the immensity of the occasion. 

Verdict: Muguruza to win in three at 28/10. I think the Spaniard is going to eventually win, though there is little value in 5/10. Perhaps the American will come out fast and claim the 1st set.  Ultimately I think Muguruza is befitting from the slightly slower conditions this year. The former French Open Champ is an all-court specialist, but she really seems to be thriving with slightly more time from the baseline. 


Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets.

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