No.14 seed Sofia Kenin defeated Garbiñe Muguruza 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 in their only previous meeting, in the first round of Beijing last September. The American won both the first six and the last six games of that match.
Garbiñe Muguruza is the first Spanish woman to play the Australian Open final since her coach, Conchita Martínez, who was runner-up to Martina Hingis in 1998, and is bidding to become the first Spanish female champion. The only other Spanish woman to reach the final in Melbourne was Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, runner-up to Stefanie Graf in 1994 and Mary Pierce in 1995.
At 21 years and 80 days old, Sofia Kenin is the youngest Australian Open finalist since 2008, when 20-year-old Maria Sharapova defeated 20-year-old Ana Ivanovic, and 22 days younger than Naomi Osaka was when she won the title in Melbourne last year.
World No.15 Sofia Kenin and World No.32 Garbiñe Muguruza will contest the first Australian Open final in the Open Era between players ranked outside the Top 10. However, it is the eighth such Grand Slam final this century, following Roland Garros 2005 (No.12 Justine Henin defeated No.23 Mary Pierce), Wimbledon 2007 (No.31 Venus Williams defeated No.19 Marion Bartoli), Wimbledon 2013 (No.15 Marion Bartoli defeated No.24 Sabine Lisicki), the US Open 2015 (No.26 Flavia Pennetta defeated No.43 Roberta Vinci), Wimbledon 2017 (No.15 Garbiñe Muguruza defeated No.11 Venus Williams), the US Open 2017 (No.83 Sloane Stephens defeated No.16 Madison Keys) and the US Open 2018 (No.19 Naomi Osaka defeated No.26 Serena Williams).
Former World No.1 Garbiñe Muguruza entered the Australian Open unseeded at a major for the first time since Roland Garros 2014 - having been ranked World No.34 in the week the seeds were determined, and as such missing out by one place. The 26-year-old is the sixth unseeded finalist here in the Open Era; three of her predecessors were runner-up (Mary Pierce in 1997, Amélie Mauresmo in 1999 and Justine Henin in 2010), while two became champion (Chris O'Neil in 1978 and Serena Williams in 2007). The most recent unseeded champion at any Grand Slam was Sloane Stephens at the US Open 2017.
Sofia Kenin has a 3-1 record in WTA finals, all of which have come in the past 13 months, with her only loss coming to Wang Yafan in Acapulco last March. All of Kenin's previous finals were at International tournaments; her best showings above that level before this week were back-to-back semifinals last August in Cincinnati and Toronto and a quarterfinal in Zhengzhou last September.
Garbiñe Muguruza owns a 2-1 record in Grand Slam finals and a 7-4 record overall - including winning six of her last seven. Since Wuhan 2015, Muguruza's only final loss came at Doha 2018 to Petra Kvitova. Doha 2018 was also Muguruza's most recent final above International level; between then and this week, her only two finals came in Monterrey. Victor at Roland Garros 2016 and Wimbledon 2017, a win for Muguruza would tie Angelique Kerber's three Slam trophies as the joint fourth highest total among active players, behind Maria Sharapova (5), Venus Williams (7) and Serena Williams (23) (joint fifth highest including four-time major champion Kim Clijsters, due to make a comeback this year). An Australian Open title was also take Muguruza three-quarters of the way to a Career Grand Slam - a position Kerber is also in.
Sofia Kenin is guaranteed to make her Top 10 debut after reaching her maiden Grand Slam final. The 21-year-old will rise to World No.9 with a loss and World No.7 with a win, displacing Petra Kvitova from the Top 10. Garbiñe Muguruza will return to the Top 20 for the first time since last May, landing at World No.16 with a loss and World No.12 with a win. The latter would be her highest ranking since August 2018. Elsewhere, Muguruza's run has blocked Maria Sakkari from making her Top 20 debut - but this fortnight's results have ensured that Belinda Bencic will break the Top 5 for the first time on Monday.
From Roland Garros last year until the end of the season, Garbiñe Muguruza compiled just a 1-6 win-loss record - but she has opened 2020 with an 11-1 record so far, with her only loss coming in the Shenzhen semifinals to eventual champion Ekaterina Alexandrova. (Muguruza also withdrew from the Hobart quarterfinals, handing Veronika Kudermetova a walkover.)
Sofia Kenin has dropped just one set en route to the final - to Coco Gauff in the fourth round. Garbiñe Muguruza has dropped two, to Shelby Rogers in the first round and Ajla Tomljanovic in the second. Indeed, Muguruza's first set this fortnight was a bagel inflicted by Rogers, making Muguruza the first player in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam final after losing her opening set of the tournament 0-6. Previously, Simona Halep trailed Alison Riske 0-5, 30-30 in the first round of Roland Garros 2018, eventually going on to win that match 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 and thence the title.
After overcoming Rogers 0-6, 6-1, 6-0, Muguruza will bid to become the ninth player in the Open Era to lose a 0-6 set en route to lifting a major trophy, following Sue Barker at Roland Garros 1976 (who defeated Renata Tomanova 6-2, 0-6, 6-2 in the final), Evonne Goolagong Cawley at Wimbledon 1980 (defeated Tracy Austin 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 in the semifinals), Hana Mandlikova at the Australian Open 1987 (defeated Claudia Kohde-Kilsch 6-1, 0-6, 6-3 in the semifinals), Monica Seles at the Australian Open 1991 (defeated Mary Joe Fernandez 6-3, 0-6, 9-7 in the semifinals), Stefanie Graf at the US Open 1995 (defeated Seles 7-6(6), 0-6, 6-3 in the final), Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario at Roland Garros 1998 (defeated Seles 7-6(5), 0-6, 6-2 in the final), Kim Clijsters at the US Open 2009 (defeated Venus Williams 6-0, 0-6, 6-4 in the fourth round) and Sloane Stephens at the US Open 2017 (defeated Venus 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 in the semifinals).
Sofia Kenin was a former junior World No.2 - but never travelled to Australia to play the girls' Slam Down Under. Kenin's best junior Slam performances were at the 2015 US Open, where she was runner-up to Dalma Galfi, and the 2016 US Open, where she reached the semifinals before falling to Viktoria Kuzmova. By contrast, Garbiñe Muguruza's junior career high was World No.302, and she would only play one girls' Slam - Roland Garros 2010, where she qualified and reached the second round, losing to Lyudmyla Kichenok.
Garbiñe Muguruza is bidding to become just the third player in the Open Era, male or female, to win her first three Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces, following Hana Mandlikova (Australian Open 1980 on grass, Roland Garros 1981 on clay and US Open 1985 on hard) and Serena Williams (US Open 1999 on hard, Roland Garros 2002 on clay and Wimbledon 2002 on grass).
Sofia Kenin is the 10th active player to ride her debut Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance all the way to the final. The others are Venus Williams (US Open 1997 finalist), Serena Williams (US Open 1999 champion), Kim Clijsters (Roland Garros 2001 finalist), Caroline Wozniacki (US Open 2009 finalist), Karolina Pliskova (US Open 2016 finalist), Jelena Ostapenko (Roland Garros 2017 champion), Naomi Osaka (US Open 2018 champion), Marketa Vondrousova (Roland Garros 2019 finalist) and Bianca Andreescu (US Open 2019 champion).
In the girls' final, 14-year-old No.9 seed Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva will take on unseeded 17-year-old Weronika Baszak. Jimenez Kasintseva is bidding to become the first Grand Slam champion from Andorra ever, while Baszak is aiming to be the first Polish girls' champion at the Australian Open since Magdalena Grzybowska in 1996 (and at any Slam since Iga Swiatek won the Wimbledon junior title in 2018). Baszak is also seeking to become the first girls' singles winner at a major with a one-handed backhand since Lourdes Domínguez Lino at Roland Garros 1999. It will be the pair's first meeting.
always inspired by @SofiaKenin ! she has a lion heart & on top of that she is a sweet kid! rooting all the way!!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸— Alison Riske-Amritraj🇺🇸🇮🇳 (@Riske4rewards) January 30, 2020
Incredible to see @GarbiMuguruza painting the lines again. Having instant success once more w/ smart, uber professional, calm coach @conchitamartinz (Wimbledon). Happy, close-knit, hard working team=success.— Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) January 30, 2020
It’s still January for real? This month feeling like a whole year 😂— Amanda Anisimova (@AnisimovaAmanda) January 31, 2020
Live footage of me trying to get through January 😂 pic.twitter.com/qE4XbfZ4YJ— Sloane Stephens (@SloaneStephens) January 31, 2020
Cheers to our Australian summer. Wouldn’t want to share it with any other team 🥰 pic.twitter.com/92D3WYLtBu— Ash Barty (@ashbarty) January 30, 2020
ORDER OF PLAY
ROD LAVER ARENA (starts 11.15am)
After Boy's Final
Weronika BASZAK (POL) vs  Victoria JIMENEZ KASINTSEVA (AND)
Not before 7.30pm
 Sofia KENIN (USA) vs Garbiñe MUGURUZA (ESP)
Bethanie MATTEK-SANDS (USA) / Jamie MURRAY (GBR) vs  Barbora KREJCIKOVA (CZE) / Nikola MEKTIC (CRO)
Plenty has been written about the "champion's mentality", particularly as exemplified by Garbiñe Muguruza this fortnight - but what precisely does it consist of, asks Jane Voigt for Tennis With An Accent.
Sofia Kenin has found herself the secondary narrative in her biggest matches in Melbourne - but it's now time for the American to hold the spotlight herself, writes Joel Drucker for tennis.com.