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Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin is back for her second Grand Slam final of the year and the second of her career. The 21-year-old has had a breakthrough year, which is quite an achievement considering she won the 2019 WTA Most Improved Player of the Year award.
Iga Swiatek was the tournament’s biggest story, reaching his first major final at just 19. She has yet to lose a set and has only conceded 23 games in total. In the round of 16, Swiatek faced Simon Halep, the No.1 seed and clear favorite to win the tournament, and beat her, 6-1, 6-2, in just over an hour.
The two youngsters have some similarities in their games, both using throws with great effect. The cold and often wet conditions of the unusually scheduled French Open allowed their throws to bounce even lower, making them even more difficult for opponents. Even though the opponent can dig up the ball before it hits the ground a second time, Swiatek and Kenin are both excellent thieves, a side effect of playing a lot of doubles.
But the players differ in their groundstrokes. While everyone has a varied arsenal to keep their opponent ahead throughout base rallies, their preferences are distinct. Kenin’s favorite shots are flat, glued straight into the corners, depriving opponents of the time it takes to prepare their own shots. Swiatek relies on a heavier topspin stroke, using it to create steeply angled trajectories that widen the contours of the point, dragging opponents side to side.