Sunday’s Set Points, Charleston 2019: Madison Keys wins first WTA title on clay

That’s a wrap for the 2019 Volvo Car Open! Another great week in Charleston came to a close with Sunday’s final as Madison Keys defeated Caroline Wozniacki to win her first WTA title on clay and first trophy anywhere since Stanford in 2017. Read on for a review from the last day of the tournament with the final Set Points post of the week. Time for a break before the red clay…

Keys d. Wozniacki, 7-6(5) 6-3

From the third set of her quarter-final against Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys was locked in. The American player navigated her way through a tough draw with her first ever wins against both Stephens and Wozniacki, the latter coming in a quality finale.

There were just a few points that separated Keys and Wozniacki in an entertaining opening set. First serves were crucial with both under scrutiny behind their second serves. Naturally, Wozniacki was the more consistent player, and the majority of points were decided on Keys’s racquet with her heavy groundstrokes pushing Wozniacki back behind the baseline. In a frenzied first set tiebreak, Keys barely missed a backhand down-the-line on the point of the match at *6-4, but delivered on the next set point, this time finding the court with a backhand. Wozniacki lost her way in the middle of the tiebreak with a double fault and a poor misjudgment, leaving a ball from Keys that landed on the baseline.

Keys dominated the second set, missing some opportunities, but eventually getting the all-important break. The American was so sharp and dynamic with her groundstrokes, hammering forehand winners, but also holding up well on the less-favoured backhand side. Keys served superbly, landing 70% of first serves in during the match and dropping just six points behind serve in the second set. Like her match against Puig, Keys was very aggressive on return. Wozniacki had to work extremely hard for her first two service holds.

Keys finished with 45 winners to 38 unforced errors – an excellent return! Wozniacki managed just seven winners throughout the match as she struggled to make an impact as the match wore on against the expansive shotmaking of Keys.

Final speeches

There was a nice moment as the crowd applauded Madison as she stepped up for her speech.Β  She also offered to share the car with Wozniacki after the Dane had commented in her speech that she never wins the car!

Final analysis πŸ€”

After a tough start to the year with little momentum, this was a special moment for Keys to prevail at what she describes as one of her favourite tournaments on tour. She had to battle hard to get through her first match of the week against Tatjana Maria from a break down in the deciding set and really turned on the style in her final two matches. I think the green clay suits her game as her heavy, deep groundstrokes are so difficult to defend against. Keys has a pretty decent record in Charleston and has reached at least the quarter-finals four times in seven appearances. Really happy for Madison!

When a big hitter peaks, it’s always a tough ask for Wozniacki. I’ve enjoyed watching the variety from Woz this week but she didn’t really have answers for Keys’s aggressive shotmaking in this final. The first serve kept her in contention during the first set, but Keys began to increasingly dominate in the second set. All in all, a great week for Wozniacki that sets her up for the European clay court season. If she can stay healthy, a big if, I think she’s going to do really well.

That’s a wrap for Charleston 2019!

Another great week of tennis in Charleston. This is one of my favourite tournaments of the year and the players all seem to love it. Looking forward to next year’s edition and hoping to make it in person some day!

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20 thoughts on “Sunday’s Set Points, Charleston 2019: Madison Keys wins first WTA title on clay

  1. A very prompt blog post!
    Very glad Madison Keys won the tournament. In each round she oozed quality and consistency and I sensed she had a fantastic chance.

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    • I still find Keys game ugly to watch, but each to their own. Be interested to see if she builds on this, or whether this is just one of those rare times she’s on outside of a Slam.

      More impressed by Muguruza defending her title this week (a rarity in itself on the wta). It’s felt like she’s been on the verge of finding form all year, a trophy might just be the last push for confidence she needed.

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      • There’s no accounting for taste. It’s interesting her game comes across like that, to you.
        For my part, I simply can’t watch Muguruza – for reasons I won’t bore you and others with here (hint: noise).

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      • I can’t bear Garbine’s grunting either. I wouldn’t really say I’m a fan of hers, although I do think that when she plays well her game is just a brilliant marriage of counter punching and attack.

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  2. First final for Iga Swaitek, who will move into the top 100 next week. That will be a real boost for her confidence, for sure!

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  3. Yes, well done Amanda who with her title in Bogota reaches a career high of no.54 in the world.

    Good luck to the British girls who are playing Kazakhstan in Fed Cup this weekend (and hoping they all stay healthy – Heather had ‘flu and couldn’t play last time).

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  4. What an exciting year this has been in Fed Cup! Not sure how many watched Halep v Garcia yesterday, but it was SUCH a high quality match! Caroline was really the better player for the majority of the match, but Simona just kept upping her game and battling hard. It was one of the most aggressive performances I’ve seen from Halep, and had Garcia won I would argue one of her best performances. Sadly she threw in her only two double faults serving at 44 and got broken.

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    • I caught the end of Katie Boulter’s win over Zarina Dyas yesterday, which with Jo Konta’s two wins was enough to secure promotion for the British women. A fine effort especially as Katie seems to be injured.

      France beat Romania 3-2 (the ‘2’ were Simona’s two singles victories, over Caroline Garcia and Kiki Mladenovic) because they prevailed in the doubles. Good win for France but Simona’s said she’s determined that one day Romania will lift that trophy; it may still happen.

      Carla S-N deserved praise too for winning all three of the games she played (including her doubles game with Garbine), meaning that she single-handedly ensured that Spain went through despite Garbine losing both of her singles matches. Similarly, Sloane won both her singles matches to ensure the USA’s victory over Switzerland.

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      • Garcia & Mladenovic winning in doubles after everything that happened between them was quite special. Maybe the door will be open for them teaming next year for the Olympics. Garcia could be one to watch this week in Stuttgart if she plays the way she played last week.

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      • I caught the ends of both Boulter matches, very impressed with her resilience. The end of the match vs. Poots was exciting! After so many near misses, really happy for the team.

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    • I never really get into Fed Cup and I don’t want to have to fork out for another streaming subscription but can’t deny its appeal. Australia vs. Belarus sounded good too. There were some fantastic rallies from the deciding doubles.

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