Charleston’s frenetic final day: Kiki Bertens wins biggest title

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! 😃

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22 thoughts on “Charleston’s frenetic final day: Kiki Bertens wins biggest title

  1. Otherwise a good win for Kiki Bertens, sadly Julia had just about had enough tennis for the day. She was pretty much listless. Against a player like Kiki, who seems to find herself and her game on the clay surfaces, I will guess she mentally lost it even before the coin toss. Two clay matches in a day, does take some commitment. Well done to both.

    Could it be Kiki Bertens, regardless of her build and baseline hitting game, grew up on clay courts in her native Netherlands. That could unlock some of the puzzle, she seems to have a love and familiarity for the surface. It’s a shame she doesn’t carry that form through a whole season. Anyway, the clay season( French Open) looks promising, a mix of hitters and and counter punchers getting into form. Looking forward to Stuttgart and Madrid.

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    • It was a shame that Goerges couldn’t find her game in the final. I can’t really imagine playing two singles matches in a day. A shame really as it did impact on the overall final as a contest.

      I guess Bertens has grown up on clay? She moves exceptionally well on this surface. It’s interesting as i’d call her an aggressive baseliner and I would have thought her game would be suited better to hard courts. Clay just seems to work for Kiki!

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      • I’ve played two matches in a day before. Three actually. Yeah, it’s not easy. Couldn’t imagine what it would be like at that level with those stakes!

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  2. One thing about following women’s tennis that (for me anyway) never gets old is seeing the exhilaration on the face of a player who’s just won her first big title. Congratulations Kiki.

    Not too shabby for Julia either, although she was clearly all but spent by the time she reached this final; she returns to being German No. 1.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Samsung open Switzerland
    Sabalenka on fire. Giorgi had such an easy time beating Kris Plis and Van Uytvanck that I thought she would beat Sabalenka, but Sabalenka’s power was to much for Giorgi. The bookies have Mertens as a slight favorite in the final over Sabalenka, but I’m picking The Sab.

    Bogota
    Happy to see Schmiedlova doing well and in the finals. Does The Moo know why her ranking dropped so dramatically?

    Porsche Stuttgart
    Where do they get these WTA player weights?
    In the Porsche promo they have the 5’3 CSN weighting 6 pounds more than the 6’3 Sharapova.

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    • I was devastated by AK Schmiedlova’s slump in 2016. A few years ago I really thought she had what it took to be a top 10 player.

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      • Yep it was sad to see. I remember watching her during that slump and she could barely get her serve in court. Back to 84 in the world and will be in RG main draw now.

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    • Very nice to see Schmieds winning a title after such a tough time on court. Her form just completely went – I guess it was driven by a lack of confidence but I don’t know?

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    • Yes, good win by Elise there (her third WTA title, on top of her two Hobart titles). Aryna’s still a teenager though and still has plenty of time to improve.

      Also, in Bogota AKS won her first title since 2015 and returns to the top 100, which is nice to see. I don’t know why she had her infamous slump in 2016 but she lost 16 first round matches on the trot for some reason.

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  4. A lot of good matches in Fed Cup today. Top of the list Germany vs Czech, Russia vs Latvia plus Konta vs Osaka.
    I wonder if Bouchard shook her opponents hand this time?

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    • Surprised to see how few people showed up for the Latvian match which had their big star Ostapenko.
      Every seat was full for Halep’s match in Romania.
      I liked the old Roman arena type venue in Cartagena, Spain.

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    • Yes, Konta vs Osaka should be a good one, and maybe Heather Watson against Nara too. I wish we Brits got more behind our women players; Simona’s a national heroine in Romania, for example, whereas all we seem to do is complain about ours (did anyone even notice when Heather beat Domi Cibulkova, the defending champion, in Eastbourne last year?).

      Liked by 1 person

    • There was a time when they said the Germans were coming, but it never was. They had a wonderful clutch of players, Power, defense, Counter Punchers all on the ascendancy. Don’t know what happened to them as a collective but personally, I feel they’ve underachieved in Fed Cup tournaments. The Czechs have always shown grit, and now it’s the Americans vying to hold on to the crown for as long as they can. Maria’s issues hasn’t helped the Russians either and I feel their time is fading with aging players and inexperienced up and comers.

      British tennis may be a more general reflection of the society. I feel you need to be an exceptional female player to wrestle some attention for yourself.

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  5. Someone to keep an eye on—-Victoria Kuzmova 19 y/o ranked 106
    Kuzmova is carrying Slovakia on her back. She beat Sabalenka(R # 47) and Sasnovich(R #56).
    Kuzmova was hitting 179kph, 110mph serves.

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