Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin both got their 2020 seasons off to perfect starts, earning glory at the Australian Open.
Djokovic prevailed in the men's final on Sunday, getting the better of Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an epic encounter. The victory gave him his eighth title at the Australian Open, which was the 17th Grand Slam of an incredible career.
Kenin's win was her first Grand Slam success, although on the evidence of the 21-year-old's performance, there are many more to come. The American also had to come from behind to win, beating Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday.
Here is a recap of the action from the Australian Open and a look ahead to how the battle for the next major title, the French Open, is shaping up.
Australian Open - Final Results
(2) Novak Djokovic bt. (5) Dominic Thiem: 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
(14) Sofia Kenin bt. Garbine Muguruza: 4-6, 6-2, 6-2
After being two sets to one down in Sunday's men's final and struggling with various aspects of his game, there didn't appear to be a way back for Djokovic against the rampant Thiem.
However, he showed exactly why he has won so many big events down the years. Djokovic tightened up his serve, got a break in the fourth set and, from that point on, you always sensed it would be a big test for Thiem to cling on.
After losing, the Austrian was clearly dejected. In his post-match interview, Djokovic said he expects Thiem to go on to win multiple major events, per George Bellshaw of Metro:
Per BBC 5 Live Sport, Djokovic's win put him within touching distance of the hauls of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal:
While Djokovic will be in contention at the French Open, Nadal will be the overwhelming favourite again at Roland-Garros, having won there a remarkable 12 times.
Djokovic's only success in Paris came in 2016; since then, he's made it two quarter-finals and the semi-final last year. Thiem was the man who knocked him out in 2019, and he's made it to the previous two finals, where he has lost to Nadal each time.
Given how well he played at the Australian Open, if anyone is going to come close to stopping the Spaniard on clay, it's likely to be Thiem again.
The women's draw feels a lot more open, and it will be intriguing to see how Kenin fares after her stunning performances in Australia. Per WTA Insider, after showing some initial nerves in the clash with Muguruza, she was almost flawless in the second and third sets:
A year ago, the American made it to the fourth round at Roland-Garros, where she was beaten by Ashleigh Barty.
There are so many emerging stars in the women's game that it makes it difficult to pick a winner. As Jose Morgado of Record highlighted, the majority of recent Grand Slam events have been won by fresh faces:
Barty will be the defending champion at the French Open and is the world no. 1. She will be determined to bounce back after her semi-final loss to Kenin in front of her home fans in Australia too.
A rejuvenated Muguruza, who won the French Open title in 2016, will be dangerous, as will Serena Williams. However, Simona Halep shone for long spells at the Australian Open, and if she can carry her form to Paris, the 2018 winner at Roland-Garros will be the player to beat.
French Open Winner Predictions: Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep