WTA Charleston Final Preview: Madison Keys v Angelique Kerber

KerberThe 2015 Family Circle Cup will be contested between the number 5 and 7 seeds, Angelique Kerber and Madison Keys.  After watching their final last year in Eastbourne, I am mega excited about this one! Two days before Wimbledon 2014, in a match that floated largely under the radar, Keys prevailed in a thrilling Eastbourne final, 6-3 3-6 7-5.  The third set featured some stunning rallies and it was a match that ranked in my top five for 2014.  Both Keys and Kerber won just one match through the Indian Wells-Miami stretch.  Keys has sailed through the Charleston draw, winning all four of her matches in straight sets and losing just 14 games along the way.  I expected her semi-final against Lucie Hradecka to be a close match but Madison wasn’t having any of that, producing another impressive display.  Madison faced just one break point, which she saved and was surprisingly effective on the return, breaking Hradecka’s serve on three occasions.

Kerber has been building confidence all week after a disappointing run of form since Sydney that has seen her slide down the rankings to number 16 in the world.  She has been chasing deficits all week, but the confidence of all those fightbacks is starting to show.  In the second round, Kerber came back from a set and a break down to defeat Evgeniya Rodina.  In her quarter-final match, she was always behind and saved set points in both sets of her 7-6(3) 7-6(4) win over Irina-Camelia Begu.  Even in her semi-final win over Petkovic, Kerber came back from an early break down.

The Kerber-Petkovic semi-final was an enjoyable match, packed full of brutal and intense baseline rallies.  It was fascinating to watch the pair battle to gain the ascendancy in rallies and I was pleasantly surprised to see Kerber dictating her fair share of them.  She was absolutely leathering the forehand and her continued pressure and consistent level eventually wore down Petkovic.  The higher ranked German staged a mini-fightback at the end winning three games in a row.  At the second opportunity, Kerber served out the match to love.  As far as net hugs go, this was adorable…

If Keys continues to strike the ball with such ferocity and precision, this is going to be a tough match for Kerber.  Against big hitters, Kerber does have the tendency to get overwhelmed.  Her defence is superb, but sometimes it is not enough and it requires her to *really* give it some welly and go for her shots.  A relevant statistic is that Kerber went 0-4 in finals through 2014 including that loss to Keys in Eastbourne. Madison has looked close to unbeatable at times with some of her ball striking this week.  If she maintains that level, it will require a herculean effort from Kerber to throw her off her game.

Prediction: Keys d. Kerber in 2 tight sets

17 thoughts on “WTA Charleston Final Preview: Madison Keys v Angelique Kerber

  1. I voted Keys, but well done to Kerber for getting herself out of a big funk. She didn’t do much on clay last year, so getting in form now could push her back up the rankings, or at least stop slipping further down.

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  2. Kerber needs this more than Keys. I like both but Kerber is one of my top faves. Kerber needs this for two reasons, 2015 has been terrible and her record in finals is also terrible. I’m really hoping Angie can pull this out but I’m glad she’s managed to get this far. Hoping for a good match if it’s half as good as Eastbourne it will be great.

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  3. Well, proved me wrong with the Petkovic pick, James. Kerber seems to be confident again from what her interviews indicate but I don’t know what she can do if Keys plays well. I think it will be three sets, and just going to say Kerber completes her crazy turnaround with a win here.

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    • Kerber did sound confident in her interviews, I saw one quote from Christopher Levy on Twitter that she was feeling it in practice for the last few weeks. It’s a tough ask against an in-form Madison, but who knows. I deliberated for a while between 2 and 3 sets. Normally I go the wrong way 😛

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      • Playing Kerber in the final is like discovering your Christmas’ gifts in your parents’ closet on December 22th. To get them, you just have to show up under the tree when it’s time to unwrap them.

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      • LOL. Her win ratio of finals really is poor though, isn’t it?! And all three of her titles have come on indoor hard courts, the last coming in October 2013

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  4. Just don’t understand why Kerber is rated by bookies so low….she is great in defence although Keys has such a power to put in shots but then the match would be much closer as it seems.Am going with keys in 3 sets

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  5. Agree w you Vivek. Keys has had it pretty easy in terms of matchup. Kerber is in some crazy zone where every defensive ball lands in and there were signs that Keys could be pushed if she had to hit that extra ball. Easy to say since she just won 🙂 Anyways happy for her. Nice to see these pedigree players turn it around. Lisicki was the last one.

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