The 2019 season has been the one to remember for the 20-year-old Sofia Kenin, winning her first WTA title in Hobart and playing in another final in Acapulco. The results were not that good in recent months and that all has changed in Paris, with Kenin ousting the 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and 32 minutes for the first appearance in the fourth round at Majors.
Serena played well in the first two rounds but was outplayed by a much more faster, agile and determined player who believed in victory from the very first point, overcoming some tough moments with the Parisian crowd to keep composure and stay on the winning course.
Hitting 23 winners and 17 unforced errors, Sofia was there to pull the right shots at the right time, taking the flame off from Serena's strokes and stealing 46% of the return points to break the great rival four times from 11 chances.
Despite giving her best, Serena lacked speed and the first strike that would give her the initial advantage in the rallies, counting to 30 winners and 34 unforced errors and playing some loose forehands in the pivotal moments for just one break from seven opportunities.
It was crucial for the youngster to kick off the match in strong style and show no signs of fear and panic, something she did more than correctly. Serena took just nine points on the return and wasted both break points she created, getting broken in games five and seven before Kenin closed the opener with a hold in game eight, rattling off five straight games for a massive boost.
There was nothing to stop Sofia at that moment, taking the opening two games of the second set to extend her streak to seven consecutive games, moving closer and closer to the finish line. Serena started to play much better than in the opener, pulling the break back at 2-3 and staying in touch until game 11 when Kenin landed a forehand return winner to grab the crucial break.
Serving for the biggest win in a career, Sofia fended off a break point in the next game when Williams sent a forehand wide, sealing the deal after a backhand mistake from Serena who suffered the earliest Grand Slam exit since Wimbledon 2014.