Roland Garros Day 12: Kenin, Swiatek to meet in final

  • Matt Trollope

Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek will clash in the women’s singles final at Roland Garros after both won their semifinals in straight sets on Thursday.

Australian Open champion Kenin advanced to her second major final of 2020 thanks to victory over No.7 seed Petra Kvitova, after Swiatek ended the run of Argentinian qualifier Nadia Podoroska.

In other results, US Open men's doubles champions Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares reached their second straight major final, while Dylan Alcott won his US Open quad singles final rematch with Dutchman Sam Schroder.

Kenin too strong for Kvitova

Kenin’s form had been steadily improving the further she advanced in Paris, and it was no different against Kvitova.

The American played her best tennis when it mattered at Court Philippe Chatrier, completing a 6-4 7-5 victory – her first win over the two-time Wimbledon champion in three attempts. 

"It's not easy getting to a Grand Slam final. Having two this year, it's really special.”
Sofia Kenin

Kvitova accumulated 12 break points throughout the match but was only able to convert two; one of those was when Kenin served for the match at 5-4 in the second set.

Yet the world No.6 shrugged off that setback, immediately broke back, and served out the match on her second attempt.

While the more aggressive Kvitova finished with 28 winners to Kenin’s 23, Kenin committed 13 less unforced errors, as well as converting 80 per cent of her break points.

Swiatek continues dominance

In the day's first semifinal, Poland’s Swiatek thumped 23 winners to Podoroska’s six to overwhelm the Argentine 6-2 6-1 in just 70 minutes.

The 19-year-old has not dropped a set in Paris this fortnight, beginning her tournament by defeating last year’s finalist Marketa Vondrousova.

She went on to beat former world No.5 Eugenie Bouchard and two-time major champion Simona Halep, the top seed, and has surrendered a collective total of 23 games in six matches. 

Swiatek, the first Polish woman to reach a Roland Garros final since Jadwiga Jedrzejowska in 1939, is projected to rise to world No.24 by reaching the final – and will crack the top 20 if she wins the title.

Podoroska’s 13-match winning streak came to an end, but the world No.131 is expected to make her top-50 debut in the new rankings.

Stat of the day

In an exciting glimpse toward the future of the women’s game, the final between Kenin and Swiatek will be the first Grand Slam final featuring two players aged 21 and under in more than 12 years.

The last time it occurred was in the Australian Open 2008 final, won by Maria Sharapova over Ana Ivanovic.

The 21-year-old Kenin and 19-year-old Swiatek will clash in the first 21-and-under final at Roland Garros since 2003, when Belgians Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters faced off.

Incredibly, just four years ago, Kenin v Swiatek was a junior match in Paris – Swiatek won 6-4 7-5 to reach the girls’ singles quarterfinals in 2016.

It is the pair’s only previous meeting.

Alcott avenges defeat

Australia’s Alcott got his quad wheelchair singles campaign off to a bright start with a 6-2 6-4 win over Dutch wildcard Schroder, who stunned Alcott just a few weeks ago in the US Open final.

Alcott advances to the final in Paris, where he will meet Britain’s Andy Lapthorne, a three-set winner over David Wagner.

Yui Kamiji reached the women’s wheelchair singles final where she will meet fellow Japanese Momoko Ohtani, who upset No.1 seed Diede de Groot 7-5 6-4. 

The top two seeds in the men’s wheelchair singles event, Shingo Kunieda and Gustavo Fernandez, were upstaged in the semifinals; Australian and US Open champion Kunieda fell in three sets to Belgian Joachim Gerard while Fernandez lost 7-6(5) 7-5 to Alfie Hewett. 

In the men’s doubles events, reigning US Open champions Pavic and Soares beat No.1 seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah to advance to their second straight major final.

There they will face defending Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, who stopped No.9 seeds Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic 6-3 7-5.

Quotes of the day

“I'm just really grateful with the way that I'm playing, with the way things are going. It's not easy getting to a Grand Slam final. Having two this year, it's really special.”
- Sofia Kenin

“It seems unreal. On one hand I know that I can play great tennis. On the other hand, it's kind of surprising for me. I never would have thought that I'm going to be in the final. It's crazy.”
- Iga Swiatek

“I could be at home watching and not even play tennis anymore. So for me, just to be in the semifinal here in the Grand Slam, it's something real special. Even though loss is painful, which is normal and should be like this, I'm very happy how everything went.”
- Petra Kvitova, who returned to tennis at this tournament in 2017 after being injured in a knife attack five months earlier, was appearing in her first Roland Garros semifinal since 2012.

“I think it's that I'm enjoying my life, no? I am enjoying what I am living. Even the result today wasn't good for me, but I'm happy, too.”
- Nadia Podoroska

Tweet of the day

Day 13: Ones to watch

The men’s singles semifinals kick off on Friday in Paris with 12-time champion Rafael Nadal taking on Grand Slam semifinal debutant Diego Schwartzman, who beat Nadal in their most recent meeting just a few weeks ago in Rome.

This will be followed by the second semifinal pitting world No.1 Novak Djokovic against Stefanos Tsitsipas, the fifth seed who is appearing in his first Roland Garros semifinal.

ORDER OF PLAY: Roland Garros Day 13

Swiatek will look to advance to the doubles final with Nicole Melichar on Court Suzanne Lenglen in the second of the women’s doubles semifinals; the first pits No.2 seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic against fourth seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.

Kamiji and Ohtani will face off in the women’s wheelchair singles final on Court 7.