CEBU

Mendoza: In Kenin, a star is born

All Write

YOU just can’t win a Slam by committing double faults as regularly as drinking your coffee every morning.

That’s the lesson learned by Garbine Muguruza in her painful loss to Sofia Kenin in the Australian Open women’s finals on Saturday, February 1.

So don’t be surprised if Kenin, after yielding a 4-6 first-set loss, eventually bundled Muguruza out by merely serving consistently to close out a 6-2, 6-2 finish for her first Grand Slam victory.

While Muguruza had a total of eight horrific double faults, Kenin had none.

As we all know, the serve is the most important shot in tennis.

It does not only afford you an outright chance for a point-producing smash, but it also gives you the rare luxury of scoring a morale-boosting ace that can automatically derail your opponent’s momentum.

For sure, Muguruza was devastated by those three double faults in the match’s final game, the last one, bizarrely, giving Kenin the outright victory.

That will haunt Muguruza for a while, whether she likes it or not.

Although Kenin was seeded 14th and Muguruza was unseeded, the American, at 21, was still basically inexperienced.

In contrast, Muguruza, at 26, wasn’t only already a grizzled veteran but was, more importantly, a two-time champion already in the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon.

But in defeat, Muguruza, six-footer, was gracious, heaping praise on the 5-foot-7 Kenin,

“You are going to win more finals,” Muguruza said of Kenin.

Even Chris Evert, one of tennis’ all-time greats, said: “Kenin isn’t a flash in the pan. She is going to be around a long, long time.”

With the prize Kenin had won—$2.8 million—it, sure, would drive her to aim for more.

Well, every win is a spark to aspire for more—even if Kenin’s Australian Open take jacked up her earnings to $5.7 million. That’s a mountain of cash compared to the $400 that her Dad had in his pocket when he brought his wife and two kids to the US years ago from their native Moscow in Russia.

“My dream officially came true today,” said Kenin. “I have worked so hard.”

The work could only get harder, Sofia.


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