Tennis

Unseeded Garbine Muguruza in Australian Open final against Sofia Kenin

Garbine Muguruza said she revelled in the underdog role, after the unseeded former world No. 1 battled into her first Australian Open final yesterday.

The 26-year-old Spaniard fought back in both sets to defeat fourth seed Simona Halep 7-6 (10/8), 7-5 and set up a championship decider with surprise package Sofia Kenin tomorrow.

Muguruza is unseeded at a Grand Slam for the first time since 2014, after her ranking slipped to 36 at the end of a poor 2019 by her high standards.

TRICKY PATH

That meant a tricky path to the final in Melbourne, where temperatures soared close to 40 deg C yesterday.

"It's difficult, you never know who you're going to face right away, not being seeded," said the two-time Grand Slam winner.

"I knew it was going to be tough, even how I started the tournament not feeling well."

Muguruza was hindered by a viral illness in her tournament opener and lost the first set 6-0 to American qualifier Shelby Rogers. But she recovered her form and fitness to beat three top-10 seeds on her run to the final.

"I'm happy to not be in the spotlight, it's good."

Halep, 28, said the fierce heat and sun "killed" her.

"It was very, very hot today and I felt it. Killed me after the first set... The energy level went down a little bit, and I felt it in the legs," she said. - AFP

Tennis