The week of tennis in Charleston is drawing to a close with the final all set for Sunday. Semi-final Saturday produced two straight setters and some precipitation! Thankfully, it wasn’t enough to ruin the schedule. I’m glad that the 2019 Volvo Car Open will go out with a bang in what is a blockbuster final between Caroline Wozniacki and Madison Keys. Read on for my penultimate post from Charleston with a review of the semi-finals.
Caroline Wozniacki d. Petra Martic, 6-3 6-4
Caroline Wozniacki produced another superb display to beat Petra Martic in a high-quality contest, winning 6-3 6-4 in 85 minutes. There were flashes of genius shotmaking from Martic in the first set. I really like how Martic moves forward as she hits the forehand to come forward to the net. Wozniacki though was mentally rock solid and served brilliantly with six aces in the first set. Wozniacki pitched it perfectly again in terms of aggression. I thought Woz was a little defensive in her court positioning, but she hit with great depth and was strong on the forehand side.
It was clear that Martic was struggling with her leg in the second set. Buoyed by an inspired speech from her coach, Sandra Zaniewska on the changeover, she kept fighting and stayed in contention by mixing in some variety. Martic broke Wozniacki to love midway through the set, but Woz broke straight back and served out the match confidently. The serve stood out today for Wozniacki. Compared to when the serve was mostly just a shot to start the point back in the day, it’s emerged as a real weapon in Wozniacki’s game.
Madison Keys d. Monica Puig, 6-4 6-0
In arguably her best performance of the year so far, Madison Keys produced a devastating performance to beat Monica Puig, 6-4 6-0. Keys won eight of the last nine games after the rain delay. I can’t remember the last time I saw Keys produce such an aggressive AND accurate display of hitting. Most impressive was Keys’s return which was on fire 🔥. It’s amazing the difference from yesterday where Collins struggled to get a read on the Puig return. Keys was just in the zone and put so much pressure on the second serve, which was likely responsible for Puig’s increasing tally of double faults.
The final game was a dramatic one as Keys tried to get across the finish line with the drizzle returning. The American player nearly injured herself getting caught in a slide on the clay, but managed to get the job done with the second set bagel. A near-perfect display from Keys who finished with 26 winners (including 9 aces) to just 12 unforced errors.
Best point 🎾
Martic’s movement around the net and that high volley finish! Great point 👏.
Super snap 📸
Great shot of Madison celebrating the semi-final win from Daniel Ward on Twitter.
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
Never knew that Wozniacki and Martic were such good friends. That’s a beaming smile from Petra at the net!
Tomorrow’s OOP ⭐
Sunday’s Charleston final should be a great occasion. Woz leads the H2H, 2-0 with two straight set wins in New York (6-3 6-4, 2016) and Indian Wells (6-4 6-4, 2017). It’s a tough match-up for Keys who has historically struggled against the counter-punchers. On a positive note for Keys, she should take heart from her first victory over Sloane Stephens on Friday and with how she has battled through the draw. The performance against Puig must give her confidence. Still, i’m leaning towards Woz with the match-up and how well she has been playing, especially with the serve and the balance she has achieved this week between defence and attack.