Daring and defiant, Sofia Kenin has crowned her stunning rise to sporting super stardom 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.
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However, it was the fifth game of the deciding set that proved the major turning point and certainly the biggest talking point of the victory.
At 2-2 in a tense deciding set, Muguruza looked likely to take a potentially match-winning advantage after setting up three break points on the Kenin serve.
The American had her back well and truly against the wall but what happened next left the crowd inside Rod Laver Arena and viewers stunned.
The 21-year-old managed to save not one, not two but all three break points with clutch winners down the line, before edging ahead in the contest, courtesy of an ace.
Kenin's gutsy comeback in the crucial game left viewers in a frenzy on social media, with many predicting her eventual victory after witnessing the great escape.
SENSATIONAL FROM SONYA!
Those 3 down-the-line winners, that wide ace... serving & rallying from 0-40 down, again in the final. And Muguruza didn't do much wrong.
The game of the #AusOpen final! https://t.co/Vj4BP7ARWl
— ZENIA D'CUNHA (@ZENIADCUNHA) February 1, 2020
Kenin - mental beast. Congrats on winning the @AustralianOpen. To save 3 virtual MPs at 0-40 in set 3, was unbelievable!
— ___FeDaLoViC___ (@iplivewire) February 1, 2020
From 0-40 down against a surging Muguruza, Kenin hits four clean winners to get out of trouble.
An epic hold of serve.
And even better for the “that’s right, have it” ball throwaway afterwards. #AusOpen
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) February 1, 2020
I think Kenin just defined “clutch” 👊🏻
— JJ (Julie) (@dirtybo0ts) February 1, 2020
@SofiaKenin my word.... I eat humble pie.. This girl has Grit with a G... 👏👏👏👏👏👏
— muliye chuula (@mulichuula1) February 1, 2020
That was unbelievably brave & skilful by Kenin #AusOpen Great to watch. Nothing Muguruza could do from 0-40.
— peter ryan (@petryan) February 1, 2020
Nicely done Kenin! Thought Muguruza was showing signs of a comeback in the third set but when Sofia held from 0-40 down I knew the title was going to be hers. #AusOpen
— Dolani Robert (@simplysune14) February 1, 2020
You will never see 5 better points than Sofia Kenin just played to hold from 0-40 to lead 3-2.
She might just have won the 2020 #AusOpen with that game, because how on earth does Muguruza bounce back from failing to break there. pic.twitter.com/Ce8aRHy29d
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) February 1, 2020
That is UNBELIEVABLE from Sonya Kenin.
Down 0-40, with Muguruza lifting her level, she hits three consecutive winners down the line for deuce.
And an ace for game point. pic.twitter.com/A1iaD1wTJc
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) February 1, 2020
Kenin becomes youngest champion in 12 years
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 now 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.
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.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) February 1, 2020
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 sadly double-faulted on match point as the American prevailed after two hours and three minutes.