By Editorial Team
Madison Keys has definitely not taken her eye off the ball leading into the 2019 season as she shows a strong performance today against top 10 ranked, Daria Kasatkina resulting in a 6-2, 6-4 victory. The tell of the tape in this match was Madison’s ability to apply pressure on Daria’s weak serve and move her out wide to finish the point at net.
Madison has been getting a lot better at finishing points at the net this year and it showed in her match today against a tough fighter with Swiss Army knife like diversity in the game of Daria. Clearly Madison has had a wonderful year in reaching multiple grand slam final four appearances, but just maybe a title here in Zhuhai at the WTA Elite Trophy tournament can get the ball rolling in terms of an 2019 Australian Open run to the finals.
With such a competitive field and many top players vying to retain last year’s ranking points, the road to grand slam title will not be a cakewalk for the American superstar. In particular, Sloane Stephens can be a tricky opponent for Madison as consistency from the ground has been a huge issue for her late in the second week of major events, but with tons of practice hours on court in Florida Madison should be a real contender in 2019 and maybe also walk away with the title in Zhuhai, China.
Playing a similar format as the WTA Finals, Madison is playing in the Azalea Group with hopes of emerging from the round robin with a winning record of sets and games to advance into the semifinals where she would play the top performers out of the Camellia, Orchid and Rose groups. If Madison wins her next group match against Qiang Wang she would advance to semifinal play. For more information about the draw click here.
Stephens and Keys raise the bar in Fed Cup playoff
By Editorial Team
The Fed Cup has come home for the US women’s team to the Alamo state with both Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys in the drivers’ seat.
After the early round defeat to Australia, Madison is anxious to redeem Team USA and position itself in the running for 2020. When asked about the status of the team and anticipation for the weekend, Keys stated,
“We’re playing to stay in World Group I. It’s obviously very important, We were all really bummed about the loss, and we’re looking to walk away with a win after this weekend.”
Chemistry is definitely in favor of the US team as the players and coaches are all very close off the court as friends, but against Switzerland its definitely a business trip.
Coming off a title win in Charleston, Madison is set to keep the momentum going full steam as she prepares to make a decent run toward the French Open later next month.
While title hopes are around the corner for Madison, Sloane is planning on regaining her rhythm and finding her strokes while she competes. Fans shouldn’t be surprised if Sloane goes deep in this year’s French Open as she is able to turn it around on a dime – noting last year’s final run in Paris.
Stable coaching appears to be Sloane’s biggest challenge now as she must find a suitable replacement after Fed Cup Captain, Kathy Rinaldi, has been filling in recently for Sly Black.
This Fed Cup match should a simple win for the deep high caliber of talent on the US team. Play is scheduled for April 20-21 in San Antonio, Texas with matches aired live on Tennis Channel.
Healthy, Tsonga takes on Edmund in Morocco
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is up against top seed Kyle Edmund tomorrow in the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco.
Tsonga is having a good start to the season with the exception of an early qualifying loss in Miami. Playing on the red clay surface is definitely a new venture to Tsonga after being off seven months from competitive play.
After his first round win over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Tsonga commented on his form:
“It was my first match on clay in a while. So I’m happy that I won today. I did what I needed to do today and played well during the first set,” said Tsonga, whose last outdoor clay match came at 2017 Roland Garros. “It has been almost two years since I didn’t play on outdoor clay. It’s nice to be back on clay.”
Perhaps this is the biggest test for Tsonga since his recovery. A win tomorrow could definitely put the Tour on notice while improving his ranking just before going into the red clay stretch and grand slam season.
Keys wins 4th title in Charleston
By Editorial Team
Madison Keys was able to defeat the 5th seed Caroline Wozniacki 7-6, 6-3 today to win her 4th title and 1st tournament win in close to 2 years.
This win against top WTA Tour players is great for Madison’s confidence as she goes into the thick of the clay court season.
Red clay has not been that kind to Madison even after reaching the semifinals last year. 2019 could be the year for a grand slam title, but consistency and health will play a major role in that for Madison.
The first 3 months of this season have been dismal for Madison with little to show in term of wins, but at the Volvo Car Open – her favorite tournament – she was able to overcome major hurdles with big wins over Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki.
Volvo Car Open
“It means so much,” Keys stated in her post-match press conference. “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,” Keys continued. “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.”
Is it Madison’s year? Fans will have to wait for the French Open and hope that a favorable draw propels her to the end of the second week.