Australian Open 2020: Garbine Muguruza loses, Sofia Kenin result
Garbine Muguruza has wiped away tears in an emotional post-match speech after the 2020 Australian Open women’s singles final slipped from her grasp.
Muguruza appeared to lose her way in the final two sets before finally falling 4-6 6-2 6-2 to American Sofia Kenin in an engrossing decider.
Muguruza had three break points to go ahead at 2-2 in the third set — but a radical attack of nerves and some ice-cool slugging from Kenin quickly took the opportunity away.
It seemed to break Muguruza’s back and her spirit.
After failing to convert the break point chances, Muguruza did not win another service game, allowing Kenin to runaway with a famous victory after a two-hour and three-minute war.
Having come up short at the crucial moments, but knowing perfectly well that victory was sitting there for her if she wanted it — Muguruza broke down, heavy with emotion, when she stepped up to the microphone after the match.
She couldn’t keep still during Kenin’s trophy ceremony.
The Spanish star fidgeted awkwardly, hopped from one foot to the other as the corporate speechmakers waffled on for longer than they should have.
Muguruza was uncomfortable to say the least — wrestling with your demons will do that.
The demons got the better of the rebounding star as soon as she stepped up to the microphone.
“OK, I’m going to keep it short because I’m gong to get very emotional,” Muguruza said.
“Congratulations to Sofia, you played an incredible match, you deserve this trophy.
Her deep breathes and long pauses in between sentences were impossible to miss.
“I have to start thanking my team,” she said before screwing her face up in an attempt to remain in control of her emotions.
“They’re over there suffering with me today.
“I have to say it has been incredible playing out here in this environment. The crowd makes it special. We play for you guys, that’s the show. Thank you for coming.”
She was incredibly classy in her moment of heartbreak, but there was nothing she could do to not look like a devastated loser as the ceremony progressed.
She was devastated with herself.
Muguruza slipped into playing safe tennis after the first set – and it cost her everything.
Just as she did against Ash Barty in their semi-final, Kenin was brave, super brave, in the big moments — and Muguruza looked the exact opposite.
After dropping the second set, fear got the better of Muguruza.
Her forehand started getting shaky and her serve began to implode.
The match ended with a Muguruza double fault and it reached the death when she served back to back double faults when broken at 4-2 in the third set.
The demons were winning. She ended with nine break points.
Aussie tennis great Alicia Molik told Channel 9 during the match that it was clear that failing to win those break point chances had been “soul destroying” for Muguruza.
She converted just two of 12 break point opportunities.
The ten missed chances will haunt her for some time to come.
“That’s unbelievable,” Molik said.
“It has to be soul destroying for Garbine. She didn’t play a bad point on those break points.”
Jim Courier said it was surprising to see a 21-year-old without any grand slam final experience step up in the big moments, while Muguruza crept into her shell when it was there to be won.
“It was the unexpected final. Actually it delivered on us didn’t it. You didn’t expect the person with more experience to be more nervous in the key moments,” Courier told Channel 9.
“That’s really what happened.”
As much as Kenin won it, unfortunately, Muguruza also lost it.
The match was on her racquet in the first set, swinging freely, she put up 15 winners in the first set. She only had a combined 13 winners in the last two sets.
When she suddenly realised she was a set away from a third grand slam championship and a first Australian Open, Muguruza, like countless athletes across countless sports, suddenly got the yips with the victory line in sight.
Suddenly, she had something to lose — and it showed, terribly so.
“Sometimes when you have won grand slam titles, you know what goes into winning them and you know how special they are,” Aussie tennis great Casey Dellacqua said.
“I feel with Muguruza, it played a little bit on her mind in regards to wanting to win another
one so badly.”
Muguruza took the first set 6-4 in the Australian Open final against the No. 14 seed.
Muguruza, a two-time major winner, converted two of her nine break-point chances — in the third and ninth games. Kenin converted the first break point opportunity she got in the eighth game, but was broken back immediately and the first set was over a few minutes later when Muguruza served it out.
Kenin won the second set 6-2 and just as Muguruza appeared to have rediscovered her confidence at 2-2 in the third set, she fell away all over again. Beaten by the demons Kenin’s freakishly good play on big moments put in her head.
It all showed in that sad post-match speech.
Originally published as Aussie Open star’s painful tears