Tennis

Madison Keys unlocks Caroline Wozniacki to end two-year title drought

Madison Keys overpowered former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 to win the Charleston Open for the first time yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The win, her first on clay, broke a nearly two-year drought for the eighth-seeded American, who claimed her fourth career title.

In the process, she also completed a superb week, during which she defeated two other Grand Slam champions - Jelena Ostapenko and Sloane Stephens - en route to winning the title.

Keys' two previous losses to the Dane had been on hard courts where she failed to win a set.

"I think I served really well today," said Keys, who had predicted on Saturday that playing on clay would be beneficial in her bid to defeat Wozniacki.

"I also felt I kept a lot of pressure on her, making a lot of returns and keeping rallies going and not going for things too early," said the world No. 14, who won 76 per cent of points on her first serve, and fired six aces.

"More than anything, I really trusted my game and went for my shots."

That was most evident late in the first set and the tie-break.

The big-serving Keys trailed 5-6 in the opening set before forcing the tie-break, which remained close until 4-3 when the fifth-seeded Wozniacki double-faulted.

Keys won the next point but twice had backhand errors to allow Wozniacki to pull within 6-5. A backhand down the line enabled Keys to finally claim the set.

"I just knew the games I was losing in the first set I was just being too tentative and not really trusting my shot," said the 24-year-old American.

"I knew I had to go for it. I think that's how I have to play... 100 per cent believing in my game."

A net cord earned her a break to go 4-2 up in the second set and, from there, she was not going to surrender the initiative. She duly closed out the set to complete the win. - REUTERS

Tennis