Keys locks up WTA Cincy ti­tle

Vic­tory sends Amer­i­can back to top 10 in world

Global Times US Edition - - SPORTS -

Madi­son Keys came from a break down in both sets to de­feat Svet­lana Kuznetsova 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) on Sun­day to win the WTA Cincin­nati crown.

The 2017 US Open fi­nal­ist notched her fifth ca­reer ti­tle and sec­ond this sea­son af­ter a win in Charleston in April.

She’ll re­turn to the top 10 in the world rank­ings with the US Open a week away.

Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam cham­pion work­ing her way back up the rank­ings af­ter a se­ries of in­juries, was broken back in the 10th game of each set by 16th-seeded Keys – who fired 13 aces on the way to vic­tory.

“If my team had told me a week ago that I would be here, I would have laughed in their face,” ad­mit­ted Keys, who had en­dured two open­ing-match de­feats since a sec­ond-round exit at Wim­ble­don.

Keys belted a to­tal of 43 win­ners with 33 un­forced er­rors and broke Kuznetsova three times.

Kuznetsova was the fourth Grand Slam win­ner Keys beat dur­ing the week, a string that in­cluded Spain’s Gar­bine Mugu­ruza, reign­ing Wim­ble­don cham­pion Si­mona Halep and Venus Wil­liams.

“It was a tough draw from the very start,” Keys said. “I def­i­nitely think I played some of my best ten­nis con­sis­tently this week.

I’m ob­vi­ously re­ally happy and re­ally proud of my­self,” she added, while stress­ing she won’t let the per­for­mance put more pres­sure on her at the US Open.

“It’s def­i­nitely more of a build­ing block,” she said.

De­spite lead­ing both sets, Kuznetsova never had a set point in ei­ther, Keys win­ning the fi­nal four games of the first set be­fore drop­ping her serve in the third game of the sec­ond.

Keys broke Kuznetsova to level at five-all and ran out the win­ner in the en­su­ing tiebreaker as the Rus­sian sent a ser­vice re­turn long on Keys’s sec­ond match point.

“I just re­ally fo­cused in on ob­vi­ously re­ally im­por­tant games and was able to make her play a lot of balls,” Keys said.

“I think when I was do­ing a good job at mov­ing for­ward and kind of try­ing to neu­tral­ize some of her deep, heavy, spinny shots, I was able to get out in front in the point and play a lit­tle bit more of­fense.”

For­mer world num­ber two Kuznetsova, who re­ceived a wildcard into the draw, beat top seed Ashleigh Barty, world num­ber three Ashleigh Barty and 2017 US Open cham­pion Sloane Stephens on her way to the fi­nal.

“I had a lot of matches where they could have gone ei­ther way, in­clud­ing this one,” said Kuznetsova, who will jump from 118th to 31st in the rank­ings and said she’d had a “great week.”

“I had chances but she hit the ball well and was more ag­gres­sive. I’m happy with how I played, I’m feel­ing great,” she said. “It could give me more mo­ti­va­tion in the fu­ture. I just want to rest and get ready for the Open.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.