Sunday, April 8, 2018

Kiki Bertens plays five sets in one day and wins Volvo Car Open

photo by Leslie Billman
It was a crazy tennis day on Daniel Island. Yesterday's rain-out caused both doubles semifinals to be played today, all of one singles semifinal, and most of another one.

The first singles semifinal played today featured 12th seed Kiki Bertens and Madison Keys, and it was a wild ride indeed. Bertens won the first set, then held two match points in the second. On her second match point, she had what appeared to be an easy passing shot to take the title, but she didn't pass, and Keys was able to win the point easily. Keys went on to win that set.

To add to the drama, Bertens' hip--which she injured on Thursday--was bothering her throughout the  match. And the match went on and on--for over two hours and and forty-two mintues. In the third set, Keys held a match point. Bertens saved it, and went on to win a tiebreak, putting her into the final.

Meanwhile, the match between Julia Goerges and Anastasija Sevastova was stopped at 4-all in the first set on Friday. They resumed play late this afternoon, and Goerges won the match in straight sets.

Goerges had a wobble in her second round match against Kristie Ahn, but after that, she pretty much cruised through the draw, using her killer serve and her estimable forehand. So this evening, she had to play someone who had labored under duress for close to three hours today, and who was carrying an injury. It didn't take a lot of imagination to believe that the German would most likely hold the trophy.

But that's not what happened. Goerges came out flat, and was unable to find her game at all. Bertens, on the other hand, appeared as fresh as can be, and made quick work of her opponent, defeating her 6-2, 6-1 in under an hour. Bertens is a very fine clay court player, but this was nevertheless a stunning turn of events.

Later, in a press conference, Goerges said that her semifinal had drained her of mental energy, and that her performance "obviously wasn't the way I was planning to play and the way it should have been happening." She also said that Bertens made few mistakes and made her work for every point. "...she's a hell of a player, and for me it's great--if I have to lose to someone, I want to lose to her today."

Bertens said that the day of rest helped her hip, but then it was tight when she woke up this morning. But, she said, the more she played, the warmer her hip became, and she was able to cope.

During the trophy ceremony, three Volvos were driven onto the court. The winner of the Volvo Car Open gets a Volvo to drive for two years. While Bertens was still holding her trophy, she was invited to use the Volvo app to design her car, which she did.

Bertens is the first player from Netherlands to win in Charleston.

Meanwhile, Alla Kudryavtseva and Katarina Srebotnik won the doubles title, defeating Andreja Klepac and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-3, 6-3 in the final. Srebotnik last won the doubles championship in Charleston ten years ago, when she and Ai Sugiyama defeated Edina Gallovits-Hall and Olga Govortsova.

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