MELBOURNE: The 14th American wrestler, Sophia Kenin, ranked first in the world and local hope Ashley Barty surprised her to reach her first grand slam final in the Australian Open on Thursday.
Kenin will play either fourth seed in Romania, Simona Halep, or against Garbin Moguruza, who was not sown, in the final match on Saturday after his surprising victory 7-6 (6/8), 7-5.
"She is a very powerful player, she is really amazing. She realized that she really had to find a way to win," said Kenin, 21, who was born in Moscow and who sounded surprised soon after.
"I am unable to speak, and I honestly cannot believe this. I have dreamed of this moment since I was five years old."
"I worked very hard to get here," added Kenin. "I really had to fight here. There is a reason why it is number one."
Kenin, the last American to leave in Sweltering Melbourne, where the game was suspended on the outside court when temperatures reached 38 ° C (100.4 ° F), was the party popper once more.
She had already finished the 15-year-old Coco Gauff novel race in the fourth round with an aggressive playing style that has become her trademark for the past two weeks.
She was at it again when temperatures soared in the yard at pro-Barty Rod Laver Arena
Both players retreated in the shade on the court whenever possible.
Kenin, who made a breakthrough in 2019 and won his first three ATP Championships titles, was playing the first semifinals of the Grand Slam tournament, and this was the first time that Barthy had been in the last four in Melbourne.
But if the locals hoped Kenin to be cowed by the occasion, her best-rated opponent, the French Open champion, was wrong.
Barty and Kennin, dressed in identical green tops and blue skirts, went in the first set for the serve , although Australian felt more comfortable doing this.
Once again, there was little between them in the playoff, until Barty launched a delightful two-point playground.
But Barty, who once left tennis to play professional cricket, wasted both and was tied 6-6.
Kenin, a proud American with a racket of stars and stripes, climbed 7-6up and ended the set in 59 minutes when Barty made an unintended mistake in the right-hand hit.
Barty aiming to become the first Australian Open champion since Chris O'Neill in 1978, showed a strange flash of anger.
The Australian collapsed early in the second set to fight the initiative, then kept service 3-1. Kenin's turned to show his frustration.
But Barty wasted two more points and broke when she missed a routine forehand. Gasps and then a hush descended on Rod Laver Arena.
After Barty stayed ahead in the championship from 5 to 6 years, she saved the first match point but folded under pressure when she planted a forehand long.
Read More: Australian Open 2020: Australian Open Schedule, Score, Results