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Keys vs Kuznetsova WTA Cincinnati live streaming, preview and tips - Keys and Kuznetsova clash for Cincinnati title

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 18 Aug 2019
  • Madison Keys vs Svetlana Kuznetsova is live from Cincinnati at 2.00pm local time on Sunday (7.00pm BST)
  • Keys has won all three of their previous encounters, but they haven't played since 2016
Madison Keys (PA Images)

Former U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys faces wildcard and two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova for the Western & Southern Open title in Cincinnati on Sunday.

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A surprise Western & Southern Open champion will be crowned on Sunday in Cincinnati as 16th seed Madison Keys comes up against former World No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Keys has been battling various injury issues over the last couple of years and hasn’t made much of an impact in 2019 apart from an isolated run to the Charleston title in April, but it’s all come together for the hard-hitting American in Cincinnati this week. Keys started her campaign with a three-set dispatch of former champion Garbine Muguruza and backed it up with a straight sets dispatch of former top 10 player Daria Kasatkina to make the Round of 16, where she was confronted by reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep.

Keys produced arguably her most impressive performance of the season as she conquered the Romanian in three sets and hasn’t dropped a set since, cruising past seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams 6-2 6-3 and overcoming rising compatriot Sofia Kenin by a 7-5 6-4 scoreline in Saturday’s semi-finals. Keys showcased impressive resilience against Kenin as her younger opponent saved a set point at 2-5 in the opener to level for 5-5, but the 2017 U.S. Open runner-up held firm to break and serve it out, and she was always in control of the second as she closed out the match to make her first Cincinnati final.

It’s nice to see Keys back playing some of her best tennis after a quiet last season or so. The 24-year-old first cracked the top 10 in 2017 as she won the Stanford title and made the U.S. Open final during a stand-out summer on American hardcourts, but she’s only been able to win one title since, and that came earlier this season on the aforementioned green clay of Charleston - although she was able to still make two Grand Slam semi-finals last year at Roland Garros and the U.S. Open. Keys has managed to keep her ranking in the top 20, coming into Cincinnati at No. 18, but she’d only won 17 matches in 2019 before this tournament and hadn’t really made an impact at any of the significant tournaments.

Until now. Keys can be very hard to stop once she generates this sort of momentum, but she will face an enormous challenge at the hands of a resurgent veteran on Sunday.

Svetlana Kuznetsova (PA Images)
Svetlana Kuznetsova, currently ranked No. 153 due to injuries and who needed a wildcard to compete in Cincinnati, has been on fire this week, taking a bunch of impressive scalps to advance into her first Western & Southern Open final. Kuznetsova took out Anastasija Sevastova and rising star Dayana Yastremska in three sets in her first two matches and has since defeated three top 10 players in a row, including Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova and Ashleigh Barty, denying the Australian the chance to reclaim the No. 1 ranking in a destructive semi-final performance on Saturday. Kuznetsova went down an early break at 0-2, but ended up winning the next eight games to seize control of the contest, and Barty would ultimately never see another break point as the Russian completed a 6-2 6-4 triumph.

A former World No. 2 and two-time Grand Slam champion at the U.S. Open in 2004 and French Open in 2009, Kuznetsova has also won two Premier Mandatory titles on hardcourt in Miami (2006) and Beijing (2009), along with finishing runner-up at five more Premier Mandatory tournaments throughout her illustrious career and winning the Fed Cup with Russia on three occasions. Kuznetsova has won a total of 16 titles and has 61 top 10 scalps to her name, but she dropped outside the top 100 recently as a knee injury sidelined her from September last year to April of this season.

"It's been so many different things when I was off, so I just enjoyed time off," said Kuznetsova. "Honestly, I was not missing at all traveling and all the stress when you play tournaments. But now I have missed it and I feel good. I feel joy staying here and being here. Definitely helped me to have some time off to see other things out of tennis, because when you learn more you can bring more to your work, to your job."

Can Kuznetsova cap a resurgent week with the Premier-5 Cincinnati title? She will have to overturn a 0-3 record against Keys, who has won all of their previous meetings in straight sets, but they haven’t played since Beijing in 2016. It’s a very tough match to call. Kuznetsova has been extremely impressive, but I think this match-up favours Keys, especially when the American has a lot of wins under her belt and his striking the ball as cleanly as she is. Keys has the raw power to combat the consistent baseline game of Kuznetsova, and if she can cut down on the errors, she should dictate the majority of points. The final is on the racquet of Keys, and if she maintains her current level, I think she edges this one.

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Keys vs Kuznetsova WTA Cincinnati live streaming, preview and tips - Keys and Kuznetsova clash for Cincinnati title

Former U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys faces wildcard and two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova for the Western & Southern Open title in Cincinnati on Sunday.

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