Keys Ends Kuznetsova’s Wild Card Run

Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati (USA)

Championship Match

[18] Madison Keys (USA) vs. [153] Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS)

It has been a rocky road for Keys lately. She had her first left wrist surgery in 2016 and things seemed okay when she got to the 2017 US Open final; however, she had a second wrist surgery in 2018, problems with her knee and other niggling injuries, which have contributed to her inconsistent results. Although she won her fourth career singles title in April of this year; her confidence has taken a blow due to some questionable losses and she needed a victory to help re-establish her belief in her game.

Getty Images North America: Madison Keys

Nervous Start For Keys

Keys started off nervous and tight; she did not make a first serve and was promptly broken in her first service game at 15-40. In contrast, Svetlana seemed ready to claim her first tittle since the Citi Open title last year. At one point it looked like Keys had a leg injury, which demonstrated to everyone watching the negative impact tension can have on one’s muscular skeletal function. Even though it looked at times as if Keys would collapse in tears, the American fought through the opposition and her frustration.

Getty Images North America: Svetlana Kuznetsova

Kuznetsova Could Not Capitalize

Svetlana served for the first set at 5-4 up and that’s when the tension that she had kept hidden all set chose to manifest itself. She was broken and then Keys broke a second time to win the first set. The momentum was clearly on the American’s side of the net now; however, pressure was still a factor and Keys succumbed to it once again early in the second set. Just like the first set, she lost her first service game.

Kuznetsova Unravels Under Pressure

Once again, Kuznetsova had an opportunity to claim her first set against the American; yet, she could not close the door at 5-4 up. Keys broke again and held serve, but this time the Russian did extend the match briefly by holding her serve and forcing Keys to hold serve to get to a tiebreak; however, that was all she could do. The lack of confidence and match toughness was missing when she needed those abilities most and Keys came back once again from a deficit to win the set and the match. With the 7-5, 7-6(5) win, the American claimed her fifth career singles title (her second of the season) and her fourth straight-sets victory over Kuznetsova.

RC/Getty Images North America: Madison Keys

Bittersweet Result For Kuznetsova

Kuznetsova will have to wait a bit longer to win her nineteenth career singles title and get her first victory against Keys. Once ranked as high as number two, the Russian is now thirty-four-years-old and these victories (getting to a significant final) are even more special. Although she did not win, getting to the final will give her ranking a much-needed boost.

SOURCE OF IMAGES: (main-Getty Images North America: Madison Keys)

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