The Australian Open has a new champion!
On Saturday, Sofia Kenin became the tournament’s Grand Slam champion, defeating Garbiñe Muguruza in three sets, (4-6, 6-2, 6-2).
The win marks the 21-year-old athlete’s first-ever Grand Slam title and also makes her the youngest woman to win the Australian Open since Maria Sharapova, who won the tournament at the age of 20 in 2008.
“This is my first speech but I’m going to try my best,” the American athlete said on the court following her momentous victory. “My dream officially came true. I cannot even describe this feeling. It’s so emotional. I worked so hard and I’m just so grateful to be standing here. Dreams come true.”
After the trophy ceremony, she added: “I’m on cloud nine right now, I just can’t believe this.”
Prior to the Saturday final, Kenin previously defeated players such as No. 1 ranked Ashleigh Barty and 15-year-old Coco Gauff — who upset Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open’s reigning women’s champion — to land herself a slot in the finals.
In the semifinals, Muguruza upset No. 4 seed Simona Halep in two sets, winning, 7-6 (8), 7-5.
"I would like to thank the crowd. These past two weeks have been the best two weeks of my life. I love you guys from the bottom of my heart."— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 1, 2020
You earned many new fans down under, @SofiaKenin!#AusOpen | #AO2020 pic.twitter.com/dDL9somo0O
Kenin — who, prior to her Australian Open wins — had never been past the fourth round at a major tournament, famously made a name for herself when she beat Serena Williams in the third round of the 2019 French Open.
“In that first set, in particular, she hit pretty much inches from the line, and I haven’t played anyone like that in a long time,” Williams said in her post-game interview at the time, according to CNBC. “I just saw a player that was playing unbelievable.”
“Just playing against Serena, you’ve really got to fight for every point,” Kenin, 21, later said of her match against the 23-time Grand Slam winner. “She’s such a tough player. I’m just so happy with this win.”
Muguruza, 26, has won two Grand Slam titles, taking home the winning trophy in 2016 for the French Open and in 2017 for the Wimbledon championship.
In 2019, Osaka took home the Australian Open trophy, winning her second Grand Slam title in a row.
The 22-year-old beat out Petra Kvitová for the title win and soared to the top of the WTA, becoming the No. 1 seed. The year prior, the budding tennis star was ranked No. 72.
“Huge congrats to Petra. I’ve always wanted to play you,” Osaka said during the trophy presentation at the time, thanking Kvitová for a great game.
“You’ve been through so much and honestly I wouldn’t have wanted this to be our first match,” she continued. “You’re really amazing and I’m honored to have played you in the final of a Grand Slam. Thanks to my team. I don’t think I would have made it through this week without you guys. Behind a tennis player is always a team and I’m really grateful.”
Following her victory, Osaka became the first player to win two back-to-back Grand Slam trophies since Williams in 2015.
On Sunday, Novak Djokovic will face off against Dominic Thiem for the men’s Grand Slam final.