Wow. Madison Keys defeated Angelique Kerber in a magnificent Eastbourne final, 6-3 3-6 7-5, lasting one hour and 55 minutes. Keys hit a whopping 60 winners to 48 unforced errors as she held her nerve tremendously well to break Kerber’s serve in the final game of the match and convert on her fourth match point. Both players contributed to a fantastic contest, which added to the growing slate of high quality matches in Eastbourne this week. At the beginning of the match, both players were a little nervous. It was Keys’s serve and powerful strokes that saw her claim the crucial break of serve to take it, 6-3
In the second set, Kerber employed much more effective tactics as she got Madison on the run and started to expose her movement. Keys also made more errors as Kerber knucked down. The first two sets were good, but the third set was simply sensational. The rallies became much longer and surprisingly, Keys did extremely well to stay in a lot of them. The power on some of Keys’s strokes was just breathtaking. Her forehand is such a huge weapon. There was one shot in particular, a crosscourt forehand to win a close service game that really stood out.
Madison served incredibly well, but I think she could have returned better. Kerber did a good job at mixing up the serve. The final game featured one of the points of the year, which Madison somehow won with a sliced drop shot to force her first match point. Kerber saved the first two, one with some really gutsy play, but Madison prevailed for her first WTA title and a Premier too!
This was a huge win for Keys and grass really seems to be her surface. I tipped Keys to win Birmingham… I always seem to mistime when players peak! She will be a huge, huge threat at Wimbledon, but faces a tricky opener against Monica Puig who she is 0-2 in the H2H. This was the third final that Kerber has lost this year, but she played some of her best tennis of the year at Eastbourne. She looked a little tired at times in the final two sets so hopefully she will be fit and ready to start her Wimbledon tournament where she plays Urszula Radwanska in the first round.
I’ve been absolutely bowled over by the quality of tennis in Eastbourne. Without doubt, it has been the best WTA tournament of the year. The list of great matches is staggering…
1. Angelique Kerber d. Alison Riske, 7-6(6) 6-4 (R1)
2. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova d. Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4 3-6 7-6(4) (R1)
3. Camila Giorgi d. Victoria Azarenka, 4-6 6-3 7-5 (R1)
4. Angelique Kerber d. Alize Cornet, 7-5 1-6 7-6(3) (R2)
5. Caroline Wozniacki d. Camila Giorgi, 6-7(7) 6-4 6-2 (QF)
6. Angelique Kerber d. Caroline Wozniacki, 3-6 7-6(3) 6-3 (SF)
7. Madison Keys d. Angelique Kerber, 6-3 3-6 7-5 (F)
I could quite easily put all seven matches in my top 20 for the whole year.
I hoped you enjoyed my coverage from Eastbourne. If you missed it, I posted some reports and photos from my three days at the Aegon International, which can read below:
Part one on Sunday featuring Rally4Bally HERE
Part two on Monday featuring Riske-Kerber and Radwanska-Pavs HERE
Part three on Tuesday featuring Azarenka-Giorgi HERE