American Kenin wins Australian Open

American prodigy Sofia Kenin has beaten Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in three sets to become the youngest Australian Open champion in more than a decade.

Sofia Kenin of the United States poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after winning her Women's Singles Final match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain on day at Melbourne Park ,Melbourne, Australia.
Sofia Kenin of the United States poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after winning her Women's Singles Final match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain on day at Melbourne Park ,Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Daring and defiant, Sofia Kenin has crowned her stunning rise to sporting superstardom with a drama-charged Australian Open final triumph over Garbine Muguruza.

The American prodigy fought back from a set down to deny the resurgent former world No.1 and dual major winner 4-6 6-2 6-2 on Saturday night to land her maiden grand slam title.

The 21-year-old 14th seed is the youngest player to win the Open since fellow Russian-born American Maria Sharapova in 2008.

Fittingly, her story is not unlike Sharapova's, with Kenin's father and coach Alexander fleeing the Soviet Union and taking English classes by day and driving taxis by night in the hope of giving his family a better life.

Almost three decades on and his precociously talented daughter is the youngest American to crack the world's top 10 since the great Serena Williams in 1999.

More importantly she's a grand slam champion after backing up her stirring semi-final win over Australia's world No.1 Ashleigh Barty with a fearless display of attacking tennis on one of the sport's biggest stages.

"My dream has officially come true. I cannot even describe this feeling," Kenin said.

"It is so emotional and I have worked so hard. I am just so grateful to be standing here. Dreams come true so if you have a dream, oh for it and it will come true."

Chasing a third grand slam title of her own, Muguruza was undone by eight double-faults after making the early running on Rod Laver Arena.

The Spaniard broke Kenin in the third game and controlled for much of the opening set.

After missing several chances to forge to a double break, Muguruza, in a worrying sign of what was to come, coughed up successive doubles to allow Kenin back on level terms at 4-4.

Shaking off the disappointment, the former Wimbledon and French Open champion broke straight back before clinching the first set in 53 minutes.

But, showing no signs of nerves or tension in her first grand slam final, Kenin fought back doggedly to storm through the second set.

The writing was on the wall for Muguruza when she dropped serve for a fourth time, from 40-love up no less, to hand Kenin a 4-2 lead.

Kenin saved break point to hold for 5-2 before Muguruza double-faulted, almost inevitably, on match point as the American prevailed after two hours and three minutes.

"Congratulations for the way you played the final match. You deserve the trophy," said a gracious Muguruza, who was unseeded for the first time at a slam in six years.

The 26-year-old's consolation, as well as a cheque for $2.065 million, will be a rise from No.32 to 16th in the rankings on Monday.

"I just want to congratulate Garbine on a great match and I am sure we will have many more finals to come in the future," Kenin said after accepting the $4.12 million winner's purse and the coveted Daphne Akhurst Trophy.

"And last but not least, I would like to thank my team, my dad, everyone that is there. Thank you for making this possible. Thank you for putting up with me.

"I cannot believe we're here today. We have worked so hard, all of us, and I am grateful from the bottom of my heart."

After claiming her first career title only last year in Hobart, Kenin will climb to world No.7 on Monday.


AAP