MELBOURNE, Australia: In a sort of coup, American player, Sofia Kenin, beat homegrown Australian Open singles champion Ashleigh Barty in the semifinals 7-6 (6), 7-5.
In the final on Saturday, Kenin, the 14th seed, will face unseeded Garbiñe Muguruza, who pulled off the second upset of the day with a 7-6 (8), 7-5 win over fourth-seeded Simona Halep.
Kenin, 21, who was born in Moscow, had not advanced past the fourth round at a Grand Slam in her 11 main draw appearances before this tournament. She did not face a seeded player here before meeting Barty, who was not only the No. 1 seed, but also the face of the tournament, carrying expectations of a host country that has gone longer without a homegrown Grand Slam singles champion than any other Grand Slam host country.
Barty, 23, was attempting to become the first Australian woman to reach the final here since Wendy Turnbull in 1980 and the first to win the title since Chris O’Neil in 1978. Among the Australian men, the last singles champion at the Australian Open was Mark Edmondson in 1976.