October 12th, 2020

Florida’s Kenin Reaches French Open Finals, Bested by 19-year-old Swiatek

Pro Tennis

Florida’s Sofia Kenin came up short of claiming two Grand Slam titles in 2020 on Saturday, as she was dealt a stunning loss in the French Open final by Polish teenager Iga Swiatek.

The unseeded Swiatek defeated 4th-seeded Kenin 6-4, 6-1 in the final without dropping a set, to capture her first Grand Slam title and to make history by becoming the first Polish player to do so. The win launched Swiatek from world No. 54 to No. 17 in the WTA rankings, which were released Monday.

“It’s crazy. Two years ago, I won a junior Grand Slam, and right now I’m here. It feels like such a short time,” Swiatek said on the court after the match. “I’m just overwhelmed.”

Swiatek is the first woman to prevail in Paris without ceding a set since Justine Henin in 2007, and is the first teen to win the women’s title at the French Open since Iva Majoli in 1997.

“I was just mentally consistent, and I just wanted to play aggressive as in previous rounds,” Swiatek said. “Maybe it had to be that another underdog had to win a grand slam in women’s tennis right now. It’s crazy.”

Kenin, a 21-year-old from Penbrook Pines who was looking to win her second major title of the year after winning the Australian Open in February, entered the French Open 16-1 in majors. Her 2020 French Open appearance was her best-ever clay court result at WTA-level, but it just wasn’t enough to keep up with Swiatek. At 2-1 down in the finals, Kenin left the court for a few minutes to take a medical timeout and came back with her left thigh heavily strapped.

“I’m not going to use this as an excuse, but my leg obviously was not the best. It’s obviously disappointing,” said Kenin during the after-match press conference. “Especially in the first set a few shots here and there didn’t go my way, and she played some great tennis.”

Making it to the final was an achievement in and of itself for Kenin, who had never made a WTA-level quarterfinal on clay in her career before these last two weeks. Previously, her best-ever clay court showing at WTA-level was her run to the round of 16 in Paris last year, where she beat Serena Williams before losing to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty.

“I wish I would have won, but I’m just happy that I got to where I am now,” said Kenin. “It sucks the season is over for us. I really wish there were more tournaments. I’m going to use this time to get my leg rested and everything, and start pre-season.”

For more results from the 2020 French Open, visit www.rolandgarros.com.