Meet Sofia Kenin, the Young American Who Just Upset Serena Williams in the French Open
If it weren't clear before the third round of the French Open, there's no denying it now: Sofia Kenin has arrived. The 20-year-old American — who's ranked No. 35 in the world — defeated Serena Williams on the seventh day of the tournament in Paris. Though Serena is battling back from injury, it was Sofia's calm, persistent play that propelled her to victory, clinching the match in just two sets (6-2, 7-5). This was Serena's earliest Grand Slam loss since 2014.
It was a stunning and emotional moment for Sofia, too. "Serena is such a great player and a true champion," she said in an on-court interview, still fighting back tears.
Sofia — who goes by Sonya, at least among family and friends — is no stranger to playing her childhood heroes. She faced Maria Sharapova in the third round of the 2017 US Open, and though she lost, the New York Times reported that it was her showing in that tournament that led Sofia to turn down college scholarship offers in favor of going pro. She finished in the top 100 for the first time in 2018, when she was just a teenager. In January, she won her first WTA doubles and singles titles, at the ASB Classic and Hobart International, respectively.
Sofia's family immigrated to the United States from Moscow when she was just an infant. She grew up in Pembroke Pines, FL, where she's coached by her father, Alex. Sofia is one of four American women still in pursuit of the singles title in Paris, along with No. 7 Sloane Stephens, No. 14 Madison Keys, and No. 51 Amanda Anisimova.
See her emotional reaction to defeating Serena in the photos ahead.