After Saturday’s semi-finals were rained out, the 2018 edition of the Volvo Car Open had a frenetic final day with a total of eight matches on the schedule including the conclusions of both the singles and doubles tournaments.
The women’s semi-finals began with home favourite and number seven seed, Madison Keys up against the number 12 seed, Kiki Bertens. Both squandered match points in a two hour and 42 minute marathon. Bertens missed two match points leading 6-4 6-5 and had an opening down-the-line on the second MP. Keys missed one match point at 5-4 in the decider as she twice failed to serve out the match.
The cooler and heavier conditions seemed to favour Bertens early doors. Keys’s fighting spirit was nice to see, even if she couldn’t close out the match when the opportunity arose. Despite clearly feeling the nerves up match point in the second set, Bertens regrouped impressively and was the bolder of the pair in the third set tiebreak. Bertens won, 6-4 6-7(2) 7-6(5) and was clearly elated, moving into her first Premier final.
The second semi-final between Julia Goerges and Anastasija Sevastova was halted at 4-4 in the first set when the heavens opened. Sevastova had shaded the early proceedings on Saturday. It was Goerges who came out on a mission on Sunday, winning in straights, 7-6(5) 6-3. The first semi-final brought the drama. The second semi-final delivered on quality. I was disappointed this didn’t go three sets. The pair combined for 68 winners and 46 unforced errors with Sevastova at a healthy +10 on the winners to unforced errors differential. There were so many great points with both showing touch and finesse up at the net and hitting well.
The story of both segments to this match was Sevastova’s inability to convert break points (1/11 on Saturday, 0/3 on Sunday) and Goerges’s brilliance to stave them off and prevail in the crux moments. After scrapping past Kristie Ahn in her first match of the week, Goerges produced some sensational tennis to beat Naomi Osaka, Daria Kasatkina and Sevastova all in straights.
After the doubles final where Alla Kudryavtseva and Katarina Srebotnik scooped the title, Bertens and Goerges returned to play out the 2018 Volvo Car Open singles final. Lasting just 58 minutes and not going the way I expected, Bertens prevailed in a one-sided final, 6-2 6-1. Goerges just couldn’t find the rhythm from her semi-final match in what was a wayward final performance.
All the credit to Bertens who managed to find her intensity surprisingly well after such a bruising semi-final. It’s always been rather puzzling to me that Bertens has so much success on the clay when her game would seem to suit hard courts better. Watching this final made me appreciate how well she moves and defends on clay. Bertens is a confidence player and she will be tough to beat on the clay this year.
And that’s a wrap from Charleston. Love this tournament and already looking forward to next year! It’s been an enjoyable and long five weeks following Indian Wells, Miami and Charleston. Time for a break and to binge watch Bake Off on Netflix. See you in two weeks for Stuttgart! 😃