Iga SWIATEK (POL) vs. [4] Sofia KENIN (USA)

For the Order of Play in full, visit rolandgarros.com.


No.4 seed Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek have never played each other as professionals before. However, they clashed once in juniors - also at Roland Garros, in the third round of the 2016 girls' event. Swiatek, who turned 15 that week and was a qualifier competing in her first junior Grand Slam, upset the 17-year-old No.10 seed Kenin 6-4, 7-5 before falling to No.4 seed Anastasia Potapova 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. The tournament was ultimately won by Switzerland's Rebeka Masarova, who beat American Amanda Anisimova 7-5, 7-5 in the final.

21-year-old Kenin and 19-year-old Swiatek comprise the first Grand Slam final between 21-and-under players since the 2008 Australian Open, where 20-year-old Maria Sharapova defeated 20-year-old Ana Ivanovic, and the first such Roland Garros final since 2003, where 21-year-old Justine Henin won her first major over 20-year-old Kim Clijsters. Swiatek is the first player born in 2001 or later to reach a Grand Slam final.

Head to Head

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For the third year out of the past four, the Roland Garros final features an unseeded player who started the fortnight aged 19. Swiatek follows in the footsteps of 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko, who turned 20 during the tournament, and 2019 runner-up Marketa Vondrousova. A champion aged 23 or under is guaranteed for the seventh out of the past eight Grand Slams.

Swiatek has dropped just 23 games and no sets on her way to a first major final - less than any first-time finalist since a 19-year-old Mary Pierce's astonishing run to the 1994 Roland Garros final losing only 10 games. (Pierce would lose 6-4, 6-4 to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario.) There have been only five routes to Grand Slam finals this century with fewer than 23 games dropped: Serena Williams at the 2013 US Open (16), 2012 US Open (19), 2013 Roland Garros (21) and 2002 US Open (22), and Venus Williams at Wimbledon 2009 (20). In addition, Dinara Safina also lost 23 games en route to the 2009 Roland Garros final.

Sofia Kenin's most recent title was in Lyon in February.

Photo by Alexandre Hergott/Open 6ème Sens

Kenin, by contrast, has faced an uphill struggle to reach this stage. The American came into the tournament off the back of a 6-0, 6-0 double bagel loss to Victoria Azarenka in the second round of Rome three weeks ago, was taken to a deciding set three times in her first four rounds this fortnight (by World No.125 Liudmila Samsonova, World No.93 Ana Bogdan and World No.49 Fiona Ferro), and was a combined 0-5 against her quarterfinal and semifinal opponents Danielle Collins and Petra Kvitova.

Kenin holds a 5-1 record in Tour-level finals, with her only loss coming to Wang Yafan in Acapulco last year. The World No.6 is bidding for her third title of the year following the Australian Open and Lyon, which would match Simona Halep for a Tour-leading tally. Indeed, having lifted the inaugural Lyon trophy in the last week before the Tour shutdown, Kenin is now on an 11-match winning streak on French soil.

Australian Open champion Kenin is the youngest player to reach two Grand Slam finals in the same calendar year since 20-year-old Ana Ivanovic was the Australian Open runner-up and Roland Garros champion in 2008. A win would make the American the youngest two-time major winner in a calendar year since 21-year-old Justine Henin won Roland Garros and the US Open in 2003, and the first player to win multiple majors in one season since Angelique Kerber captured the Australian and US Opens in 2016.

1939 Roland Garros runner-up Jadwiga Jedrzejowska.

Photo by Getty Images

Swiatek is the second Polish woman in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam final following 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, and the first at Roland Garros. Prior to the Open Era, Jadwiga Jedrzejowska was the only Polish woman to make this stage in Paris, reaching the 1939 final and losing 6-3, 8-6 to Simonne Mathieu - the namesake of the tournament's third court, opened last year.

Prior to this fortnight, Swiatek's record against Top 10 opposition was just 0-2 - straight-sets losses last year to Simona Halep at Roland Garros and Naomi Osaka in Toronto. The teenager smashed through that milestone with a stunning 6-1, 6-2 revenge on Halep in the fourth round, and will be seeking a second Top 10 win against Kenin.

Remarkably, Swiatek had only previously reached one Tour-level quarterfinal before this fortnight - in Lugano last year, also on clay in cold, wet conditions, where she reached her maiden WTA final, losing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to Polona Hercog. The Pole's biggest titles to date are a pair of ITF W60 tournaments in Budapest and Montreux which she won back-to-back in September 2018, and which enabled her to crack the Top 200 for the first time. However, she is a former Roland Garros champion - having won the girls' doubles title with Caty McNally in 2018, beating Yuki Naito and Naho Sato in the final - as well as the 2018 Wimbledon girls' singles winner.

Iga Swiatek en route to her first WTA final at Lugano 2019.

Photo by Samsung Open presented by cornèr

World No.54 Swiatek is the lowest-ranked Roland Garros finalist since the inception of computer rankings in 1975. Only nine previous major finals since then have featured a player ranked lower. On six occasions, that was a former Top 20 player returning from injury, maternity leave or retirement (No.81 Serena Williams at the 2007 Australian Open, No.83 Sloane Stephens at the 2017 US Open, No.181 Serena Williams at Wimbledon 2018 and, unranked, Evonne Goolagong Cawley at the 1977 Australian Open, Kim Clijsters at the 2009 US Open and Justine Henin at the 2010 Australian Open). On two further occasions, World No.111 Chris O'Neil and World No.68 Barbara Jordan came through 32-player draws to win the 1978 and 1979 Australian Opens respectively. Swiatek is thus the lowest-ranked player at the start of her career to reach a major final in a full 128-player draw since World No.66 Venus Williams made the 1997 US Open final.

Swiatek, whose current career high is World No.48, is guaranteed to rise to World No.24 next week, and will be World No.17 with a title. Kenin is assured of returning to her own career high of World No.4, and victory will ensure that she hits a new peak of World No.3.


Expected to be partly cloudy, but chilly, with a high temperature of 14C/58F at start time for the final.



Singles semifinal recaps at wtatennis.com:
Classy Kenin storms past Kvitova into French Open final
Swiatek sails into French Open final with Podoroska masterclass

On the 20th anniversary of her run to the singles and doubles titles in Paris, French favorite Mary Pierce looks back with Chris Oddo of rolandgarros.com at the steps which brought her to the "best memory of my whole career."

Also at rolandgarros.com, Pam Shriver wonders if Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek could foster one of the next great rivalries of women's tennis, as Ravi Ubha breaks down Shriver and other veterans' expectations for the intriguing women's final.


2020 Roland Garros highlights: Classy Kenin cools Kvitova