Australia’s world no. 1 Ash Barty held two set points in the first and second sets only to see unforced errors and the fighting spirit of Sofia Kenin steal the Australian’s dream of winning a home Grand Slam.
The first set went to a tie breaker and Barty held two set points at 6-4. An unforced error conceded the first and a Kenin winner saved the next. Kenin went on a four point run to steal the first set.
Barty had held three break points in the sixth game only to see Kenin hold her nerve and keep the pressure on Barty.
The match was played in oppressive conditions with the temperature close to 40C. The heat index was at 4.9 which is just below the 5 needed to close the roof. This perhaps would have favoured Barty.
Barty adjusted her game in the second set to use a lot more of her backhand slice and draw out errors from Kenin or wait for the moment she could step in with a big forehand.
That seemed to be paying dividends as Barty broke for a 2-1 lead. The Australian then held serve until she was served to level the match at 5-4.
Barty looked in control at 40-15 before a winner from Kenin saved one set point and then a Barty unforced error saw the game at deuce. A few points later Kenin would get the crucial break.
The American then held serve to pile on the pressure for Barty.
The world no. 1 fell behind 0-30 before hitting a winner to get back to 15-30 only to hit an unforced error to give Kenin a match point opportunity.
Another long rally followed and Barty kept the match alive with a winner for 30-40 but then the hopes of the nation were shattered as Barty sent a shot well over the baseline to hand Kenin a 7-6(6), 7-5 victory.
Kenin is into her first Grand Slam final and will face either Garbine Muguruza or Simona Halep, both are two-time Grand Slam winners.
Barty let herself down with too many unforced winners. She had 36 to Kenin’s 25 and her winners count was 33 to 16.
The wait continues for an Australian to win their home Grand Slam.