Saturday, April 11, 2015

Charleston to get first-time champion tomorrow

Photos by Daniel Ward

A brand new champion will be declared in Charleston tomorrow when 5th seed Angelique Kerber takes on 7th seed Madison Keys in the singles final. 2010 champion Sam Stosur went out in the second round, 2007 champion Jelena Jankovic had to withdraw after the third round because of injury, and defending champion Andrea Petkovic was defeated today by Kerber.

I think it's fair to say that most fans weren't surprised to see Keys make a big run in Charleston, but it was a bit surprising that Kerber did, also. The German star has had a hard time of it lately, yet she created a resurgence at the Family Circle Cup. So far, her run has included the exciting and very well-played double tiebreak quarterfinal she played against Irina-Camelia Begu, as well as her defeat today of close friend Petkovic.

Kerber has had to work a bit for her finalist spot; Keys, not so much. Neither player should be especially fatigued tomorrow, but Kerber will be more match-toughened. Throughout her career, Kerber has served well enough, and occasionally, she has managed to serve very well. Tomorrow, going against Keys, would be a really good time for the German to pick up the sting of her serve, however, because Keys will most likely serve up a storm.

The indefatigable Kerber is a virtual wall, as Petkovic re-discovered today. Keys loves the short points, but for Kerber--the longer a rally lasts, the better. Keys can dominate with her serve, so Kerber will have her work cut out for her.

Angelique Kerber has played in twelve WTA finals, yet has won only three of them. Keys, who is seven years younger, won the only final in which she has appeared--Eastbourne, 2014--and in that match, she defeated Kerber. Kerber leads Keys 2-1 in head-to-head competition; the two have never before played each other on clay.

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