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Madison Keys wins Charleston title: Keys ends a 20-month title drought with 7-6 6-3 victory over Caroline Wozniacki

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 8 Apr 2019
  • Madison Keys claimed her first title since August 2017 with 7-6 6-3 victory over Caroline Wozniacki
  • Keys bags her fourth career title, first on clay

Madison Keys claimed the Charleston title with a 7-6 6-3 victory over former champion, Caroline Wozniacki on Sunday.

Keys' Charleston triumph gave her a fourth WTA title, and a first since she won Stamford in August 2017- a title drought spanning 20 months. It is also her first title on clay, following previous runner-up finishes in Rome in 2011, and on the green clay of Charleston in 2015.


“It means so much," Keys said of the title. "I've always loved Charleston. It's always been one of my favorite tournaments, so to now be able to say that I've won the tournament and be on the trophy is really, really special." 
 "It's definitely been a really great week for me, especially after having some really tough losses the last couple of weeks".   
"And to be able to really bounce back and have a really good week of training with my coach, Nacho, and then be able to come and win the tournament, it definitely is a very good springboard for heading over to Europe."


The American had struggled for form for most of the first quarter of the year, limping to an ordinary 4-4 record between January and March, but she made a spectacular return to form in Charleston, scoring maiden victories over Grand Slam champions, Sloane Stephens and Wozniacki en route the title. Keys had not taken a set off either Stephens or Wozniacki in a combined five matches against the pair. Her other victories in Charleston were in the first round against Tatjana Maria, who had just reached the fourth round at the Miami Open, the dangerous Jelena Ostapenko in the third round, and Monica Puig in the semis, but those wins over Stephens and Wozniacki clearly stand out.



Keys set the tone for the rest of the final against Wozniacki in a lengthy opening game, unleashing her power on second serves, and attacking at every opportunity, but Wozniacki saved a break point, and battled through multiple deuces to escape with a hold of serve.

The warning shots had been fired, and Keys got the early break when Wozniacki next stepped up to the line, lashing a forehand winner up the line to take a 2-1 lead. However, the American could not consolidate, throwing in a very loose game to immediately surrendered her advantage.

Wozniacki's greater consistency was beginning to take control, and she carved out another break point for a 4-2 lead, but she made an uncharacteristic harsh of an easy short forehand winner, letting Keys off the hook. She had more opportunities in Keys' next service game, but she could not convert a 15-40 lead.

The set eventually dragged into a tie break, the outcome of which hinged on a couple of bad errors from Wozniacki. The Dane committed a double fault at 3-4, and then misjudged a Keys lob that dropped in at 3-5, bringing up two set points for the American.

Wozniacki did brilliantly to save the first two set points, but there was no saving a third as Keys unloaded on a furious backhand down the line to claim the first set.

The first five games of the second set went with serve, but while Keys held comfortably, Wozniacki laboured through her first couple of service games as Keys sought to press home her advantage.

Keys received some medical attention on her foot after the fifth game of the second set, but that did not bother her any bit, as she sprung up from her chair and got the break she had been threatening. She enjoyed a huge dose of luck to get the break, as her forehand bounced high off the net cord before dropping on Wozniacki's half of the court.

The American saw out the match without any troubles, closing out a fine 7-6 6-3 after an hour and 46 minutes. The serve provided the fulcrum for Keys' victory as she served at a very healthy 70%, winning 76% of points on her first serve. While she typically committed unforced errors, she managed to maintain a positive winners-to-unforced errors ratio, striking 48 winners and 38 unforced. 



“I think I served really well today, and I definitely think I kept a lot of pressure on [Wozniacki]," Keys stated. "I think I returned well. So that and a combination of still going for my shots and trying to be aggressive and really make her play her best tennis, I think, was the difference."

Keys is projected to move up four places to No. 14 when the rankings are updated on Monday.


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Madison Keys wins Charleston title: Keys ends a 20-month title drought with 7-6 6-3 victory over Caroline Wozniacki

Madison Keys claimed her first title since August 2017 with 7-6 6-3 victory over Caroline Wozniacki

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