Aussie Open mountain too high for Muguruza

Former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza has been denied a third grand slam title by American Sofia Kenin at the Australian Open.

GARBINE MUGURUZA
GARBINE MUGURUZA Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The Australian Open has proved a mountain too high for Garbine Muguruza, with the Spaniard denied a third grand slam title by American Sofia Kenin.

Former world No.1 Muguruza spent the off-season climbing Africa's highest peak Mount Kilimanjaro and early on Rod Laver Arena it appeared her "life-changing" experience would see her again reach an ultimate tennis high.

With the French Open and Wimbledon crowns already in her keeping, Muguruza was looking to add the Australian Open to her collection.

And after a strong first set on Saturday night, she had the summit in sight.

But Kenin played some fearless tennis to take control of the match for a 4-6 6-2 6-2 victory to earn her first major title, aged just 21.

It was a case of missed opportunities for Muguruza, converting just two of 12 break point opportunities.

The Spaniard had to have treatment on her back after dropping the second set and while she didn't look in obvious discomfort her serve went off the boil in the decider.

At 2-2 Muguruza had three break points to go ahead but Kenin blasted four winners to take the game and the wind out of the Spaniard's sails.

She finished with four double faults including one on match point to hand world No.15 American the title.

The 26-year-old was emotional during the presentation ceremony and admitted she needed to keep the speech short, lest tears interrupt.

She said young Kenin, who is set to rise to world No.7 on Monday, deserved the victory.

"Congratulations Sofia - you played an incredible match and an incredible tournament and deserved the trophy," Muguruza said.

"I think we will see you play more finals for sure."

Muguruza was unseeded at a slam for the first time in almost six years with her ranking slipping to 32. She will halve her that and rocket to 16 on the back of her impressive run.


AAP