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Passport to RG, Day 12—Kenin to play for second 2020 major vs. Swiatek
First-time major finalist Iga Swiatek will face off against Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in Saturday's Roland Garros final after both advanced in straight sets Thursday.
Published Oct 08, 2020
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Iga Swiatek: "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."
"I think it's going to hit me, like, after the tournament. Right now I'm just living the dream. I just want to focus on the other matches, on doubles. I'm going to enjoy everything after."
Sofia Kenin: "I feel like after Australia, people started to know me. I felt a little more pressure from the outside. Keeping this level and playing some great tennis now is really special."
"I'm definitely going to feel a bit nervous coming into the final. I've been there, done that. I know what the emotions are getting into your first Grand Slam final. I'm hoping she's going to be a little bit nervous. But, yeah, I know what to expect, so I really hope it's going to go well for me."
Kenin chats with Jon Wertheim after win
In a highly-competitive semifinal, Sofia Kenin bounced back from a shaky service game to defeat Petra Kvitova, 6-4, 7-5. Despite failing to serve out the match on her first opportunity, Kenin's competitiveness never wavered, as she immediately broke back and shut the door the next time around—though needed to save one more break point. The 21-year-old saved 10 of 12 in total, while converting four of five against the left hander to get her first win in three meetings.
Kenin is 16-1 at the majors this year, yet with the oddity of the shortened season and modified rankings structure, will only move to No. 3 if she beats Iga Swiatek in Saturday's final.
Having been broken in the fifth game of the second set, Kvitova had four break points to get right back on serve. She was unable to take any of them and would later see Kenin serve for the match at 6-4, 5-4. The fourth seed got tight though, making first ball errors in her first three points to fall behind 0-40. Kvitova pounced, breaking on her second opportunity to level for 5-5.
In a tight second set, Kenin improves to three for three on break point chances versus Kvitova to go up, 6-4, 3-2. Kvitova, the No. 7 seed, missed her chance to go up a break in the fourth game and held two game points in the ensuing game. Kenin broke with a terrfic backhand return winner that opened up the court for a finishing forehand.
The Australian Open champion saw one of her breaks disappear when Kvitova won an entertaining point that saw the Czech fist pump before realizing Kenin's shot clipped the tape and went over (watch below). Serving at 5-4, the 21-year-old held from 15-30 to close out the first set after 38 minutes. Just two points separated the competitors (Kenin 40, Kvitova 38).
A nifty backhand return drop shot winner entered the chat, courtesy of Kenin. The American would later break Kvitova for a 2-1 lead, then broke the Czech for a second time to open up a 4-1 lead in the first set of their Roland Garros semifinal.
Simply unstoppable. Iga Swiatek plays like a major semifinal veteran to end Nadia Podoroska's incredible run at Roland Garros with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-1 victory. Swiatek is now 12 for 12 in sets won, and will be back on court Friday for her doubles semifinal with Nicole Melichar.
The winner of Sofia Kenin and Petra Kvitova will surely have their hands full with the unseeded Pole come Saturday. Swiatek has not relinquished more than five games in a match on her way to the title match, beginning her run with a drubbing of 2019 finalist Marketa Vondrousova and later ousting 2018 champion Simona Halep in the round of 16. The 19-year-old has compiled 150 winners and 32 breaks of serve through six matches.
Poland's Iga Swiatek is a set away from her first major final. Swiatek has now broken serve 29 times in the tournament after converting two breaks against qualifier Nadia Podoroska to win the opening set, 6-2.
While the numbers show Swiatek hasn't been as dominant as her recent rounds, she's more than handled the tricky conditions and occasion thus far to command the match. The teen hit 10 winners to 12 unforced errors and won 50 percent of her points on return. Podoroska's forehand has been hit or miss, she'll want to change that in Set 2 to give herself a chance to get back in this.
Down 0-30 to start on serve, Iga Swiatek soon raced out to a 3-0 lead over Nadia Podoroska. The wind is back at full force so far, though it's had little impact on Swiatek's ability to dictate with her topspin and create angles against the Argentine in the early goings. Podoroska's drop shot has been a marvel of the tournament... will she be able to employ it to any success against the 19-year-old?
The US Open men's doubles champions have maintained their hot run of form to get through to the final at Roland Garros.
Unseeded in New York's reduced doubles field, Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares weren't given a much easier path to the title despite a No. 7 seeding here, but have stepped up once again to beat three fellow duos with major team titles. After edging Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau and 2020 Australian Open champions Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury, Pavic and Soares knocked out No. 1 seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, 7-6 (4), 7-5.
The semifinals in Paris have arrived. And we're guaranteed to have a first-time major finalist versus a Grand Slam champion. But what will the combination be?
Iga Swiatek takes on Nadia Podoroska, the first women's qualifier in the Open Era to reach the final four in Paris, to get us started on Thursday. Both took out the highest seed in their respective quarter en route to this big occasion: Swiatek stunned No. 1 seed Simona Halep in losing just three games and Podoroska ousted No. 3 seed Elina Svitolina, also in straight sets. Swiatek, who hasn't lost a singles set and is also competing in the doubles semifinals, is the third player born in the 2000s to get through to this stage of a major.
Following this all unseeded matchup, reigning Australian Open titlist Sofia Kenin squares off against two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova. After being defeated, 6-0, 6-0, by Victoria Azarenka in Rome, the demolition is long behind Kenin, who improved upon her 2019 round-of-16 showing by winning four of her five matches in three sets. On the contrary, Kvitova is yet to drop a set, and carries a 2-0 advantage in their head-to-head series. The lefty is 3-3 in major semifinals; Kenin is 15-1 on the Grand Slam stage this year.