The 2019 Western & Southern Open is in the books after Sunday’s singles final. Madison Keys was crowned the champ after a hard fought straight sets victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova. Read on for my review and analysis of the final, as well as highlights from the match and links to the final press conferences. Stay tuned for the final photo gallery from Omar Boraby!
Final review 🎾
In blazing hot conditions, Madison Keys won the biggest title of her career as she rallied from 3-5 down in both sets to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova, 7-5 7-6(5). Kuznetsova had an opportunity to serve out both sets at *5-4 but a clutch Keys claimed a hard fought straight sets victory.
Kuznetsova was so smart at the beginning of the match as she hit with heavy topspin to Keys’s backhand, pushing the American player back and forcing errors. Keys stayed in contention with her serve and showed patience and defiance, taking the ball earlier and going cross-court with the backhand. Keys found her range to win the last four games of the set.
The second set was very similar to the first as Kuznetsova went up an early break. The Russian player was more effective behind the first serve and dictated points by getting Keys out wide. But again, Kuznetsova failed to serve it out. An overhead into the net at 15-15 didn’t help Kuznetsova’s cause but just like the first set, Keys showed quick feet to pull an astonishing forehand winner out the bag. This second set went to the tiebreak and it was tense! Keys was passive on occasion, but landed heavy kick serves and played a bold point at 5-4 before converting on her second match point.
Match analysis 🤔
I remember watching Keys’s first match of the week against Muguruza. The first set was a painful watch as Keys missed so many regulation rally balls and was completely out-of-sorts. I would never have imagined that Keys would go onto win the title! Keys was two points from defeat in that opener but she dug deep. With every match, Keys’s level improved. The constant throughout the entire week was the serve as she hit 10+ aces in four of her six matches. I loved the variety too with a mixture of the flat and the kick/slice, the latter which she used heavily in the final.
Even in the last two rounds, Keys had patches of error-strewn play but it didn’t define her overall game and she managed to play her best tennis when it counted. To go with the power, Keys’s defence and movement really shone this week. From nowhere, Keys has propelled herself into the discussions for the US Open where she has reached at least the semi-finals in the past two years.
This was a tremendous week for Kuznetsova and she played a pretty solid final, just unable to get across the finish line in both sets as Keys did raise her level. Kuznetsova will be unseeded and looming in the US Open draw next week. No one will want to face the former champ in round one…
Stat watch 🔢
Keys extends her head-to-head record over Kuznetsova to 4-0. Sveta, who had two opportunities today, is still yet to win a set against Madison!
Point of the day 👏
Here’s an example of the patience from Keys in that first set as she worked the point before unleashing a fierce backhand winner down-the-line to break back to 5-5.
Hot shots of the day 🔥
When Kuznetsova served for both sets at *5-4, Keys conjured up a pair of HUGE and almost identical forehand winners 👏.
Handshakes and hugs 🤗
Loved the respect between Madison and Sveta who were laughing before the match and hugged at the end 😊.
LOL moment 🤣
Loved this ha!
Favourite snap 📸
Adore this shot of Svetlana Kuznetsova by Omar!
Press highlights 📰
The press conferences from the finalists are linked below from the WTA YouTube page.