February 3, 2020,

Ready to take her seriously now? You better.

Sofia Kenin is the 2020 Australian Open champion and there is a feeling among some in the media that up until now, many were not taking her seriously.

At least not seriously enough to win a Grand Slam.

Can you name one media outlet that predicted so?

Did you predict so?

We thought it would happen but since we didn’t voice it in writing, we can’t say that we told you so, since we didn’t.

We thought it though.

Not before the tournament began nor right after it started.

It was when Sofia Kenin slowly dismantled red hot Coco Gauff and completely decimated her in the third set that we sensed she was building a head of steam that couldn’t be stopped.

We wrote about Coco and termed her a Giant Slayer.

2020 AO First Round, American Coco Gauff Defeats A Legend

Then we wrote about her again.

AO 2020, Swirling Winds, Changing Fortunes, Coco In, Naomi Out

If we’re honest, we thought Coco might slay her way to a Grand Slam final, having just dispatched of two former dominant Grand Slam winners in Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka.

Then she met Sofia Kenin.

Sofia has a way of making teenagers look like, well, teenagers.

Minus the giggling.

Teenagers who lack her level of experience. She did that with Amanda Anisimova as well when they met in November of 2017, 6-4 – 6-3 in the 80K Tyler, Week 44 Event.

Here, it wasn’t that she just beat Coco. It’s was how she did it. At some point we thought Coco was losing so badly that she might have an emotional meltdown. She didn’t. Still, it was getting late early by the first part of the third set.

You sensed there wasn’t remotely going to be a comeback.

We didn’t see that coming.

Justine Henin may have seen this coming.

Justine Henin is a Belgian former professional tennis player known for her all-court style of play and notably being one of the few female players to use a single-handed backhand.

She spent a total of 117 weeks as the world No. 1 and was the year-end No. 1 in 2003, 2006 and 2007.

Justine comes from a country with limited success in men’s or women’s tennis. She helped establish Belgium as a leading force in women’s tennis with Kim Clijsters, and led the country to its first Fed Cup crown in 2001.

Henin won seven Grand Slam singles titles: winning the French Open in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007, the US Open in 2003 and 2007 and the Australian Open in 2004. At Wimbledon, she was the runner-up in 2001 and 2006. She also won a gold medal in the women’s singles at the 2004 Olympic Games and won the year-ending WTA Tour Championships in 2006 and 2007.

In total, she won 43 WTA singles titles.

With a resume like that, when she speaks, virtually everyone in the tennis world listens.

In her interview with foxsportsasia.com she analyzed, “She [Kenin] doesn’t do anything exceptional but she’s doing what she can do,” said Henin. She was maybe a little bit nervous in the beginning (against Barty) but when she had the opportunity to take the lead, she went for it. She has good vision of the court, moves pretty well.”

Give her that. She has good grit and sand, especially on those hard courts.

“We’re going to be OK because of the American people. They have more grit, determination and courage than you can imagine.”… Joe Biden

How many in the media predicted her to win this one?

The media is taking her seriously now. All of us are. At edition.cnn.com they report, “Kenin won her first grand slam title at the Australian Open on Saturday, rallying to beat a resurgent Garbine Muguruza 4-6 6-2 6-2 as Melbourne’s fickle weather resurfaced. At 21, Kenin became the youngest women’s champion at the Australian Open since her idol, Maria Sharapova, in 2008.”

Like Maria, Sofia was born in Russia before settling in Florida at a young age after living in New York.

Ah, Maria. Echoes of great champions past.

Now it is Sofia’s time. Does she have a lot of Grand Slam titles in her future?

She showed it big time on the courts at the finals.

Sofia converted five out of six break points while saving 10 of 12 big ones herself, often with gutsy, take a risk winners. She was determined to leave nothing on the court.

Except the remains of Spain’s Garbine Muguruza. Who previous to this great run at the Aussie had been struggling on the hard courts.

Garbine was sure happy to help her out. Our former Grand Slam champion handed Sofia 8, count ’em 8 double faults. Three of those came in the final game including one long one on match point. Ms. Muguruza’s unforced error tally climbed to 35 early in the third set.

Garbine was working so hard for points that she found herself in 23 shot rallies.

Our Spanish super star is a hard worker. Give her that.

As shared by wtatennis.com on November 14, 2019, “Two-time Grand Slam winner Garbiñe Muguruza traded the sun-drenched beaches of the typical tennis off-season for icy mountains this week as she took on one of the biggest challenges of her career.

Braving sheer cliff drops and sub-zero temperatures, Muguruza scaled the highest peak in Africa during a five-day climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.”

This match against Sofia was clearly harder than scaling Mount Kilimanjaro which Garbine courageously climbed. Unfortunately she couldn’t climb out of the hole that she dug for herself here. Her game ran far colder than hot. Much lower than high.

And we thought Sofia was nervous against Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the semi-finals.

Perhaps a higher ranking will calm Ms. Kenin’s nerves. Sofia will move inside the top 10 from 15th in the rankings and replace Serena Williams as the new United States number one female tennis player.

That is saying a mouthful.

Oh, the passing of time.

So, welcome to the Sofia Kenin show. How long will it last? Remember at the 2019 US Open how we were all mildly surprised and amazed at Canada’s Bianca Andreescu, for good reason.

Sofia has the internal makeup to be a long-term great one and developing more power surely will help.

But for now, what she has is perfect. We’re are amazed here too.

Sofia Kenin has arrived. Seriously so.

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