After correctly predicting BOTH men’s semi-finals (Thiem in 4 sets and Djokovic in 3), I’m having a crack at 3/3 with the women’s final. I’ll be honest, as an Australian tennis fan it is slightly disappointing not to see Ash Barty’s name on the lineup for tonight’s women’s singles final on Rod Laver Arena. The names of Garbine Muguruza and Sofia Kenin were definitely not touted as potential finalists by most, but the form of these women has truly merited their place in the final tonight from 630pm AEST. 21 y/o up-and-comer Kenin has now well and truly shed that tag, announcing herself on the biggest stage with a tenacious semi-final win over Barty. 26 y/o Muguruza, a 2 time major champion, played the best tennis of any woman in the tournament so far during her semi-final win over Simona Halep. This match-up, combined with the extreme ebbs and flows that most WTA matches go through, sets up a mouth-watering final for tennis fans
If you’re in Australia, you can catch all the action on Channel 9, or on your mobile device with the 9NOW App. If you’re overseas you can catch the action on the Sky Go App or on your TV with Eurosport.
Who Would Have Picked It?
If I said to you before the tournament started, that unseeded Garbine Muguruza and youngster Sofia Kenin would be in the final, you would have laughed at me. But, welcome to the wonderful world of WTA Tennis – where anything can happen. With 2 players both ranked outside the top 10 in the world in the final, the match looks extremely open to interpretation when it comes to analysis. Normally when I do my prediction, I analyse both players runs and form up to this point in the tournament. But I think in this case it matters little, with both women in red hot form and playing the best version of their own brand of tennis.
This match is on Garbine Muguruza’s racquet. The big hitting Spaniard is one of the cleanest ball strikers on tour, and has improved her net play tremendously, to the point where she loves coming forward – a massive plus against the uber consistent Kenin. But, do I trust Garbine Muguruza? Maybe. She has the propensity to go off the boil because she red lines her game, whereas you know what to expect from Sofia Kenin.
This will be the ultimate game of cat & mouse, with Mugu hitting big and Sofia counter-punching. But I don’t think Sofia has the game to keep the biggest hitters at bay, and Garbine is top of that list. Despite having an under-powered serve, Kenin has been holding serve 86% of the time this tournament. Here’s the key – Mugu has been breaking serve almost 50% of the time. I think that is where this match is won & lost. In a grand slam final, I’d normally point to the experienced side of the match-up as a reason for a prediction. I think it matters little here. The Spaniard will take control of most rallies; this match will be on her racquet. And ultimately, that’s where you want to be in a Grand Slam final. I’ll take Garbine in 3
Prediction: Garbine Muguruza in 3 sets