The 2016 Rogers Cup final in Montreal is all set for Sunday and it should be a cracker! In the second of the semi-finals, Madison Keys won 10 of the last 11 games to defeat Kristina Kucova, 6-2 6-1 and advance to a final showdown with Simona Halep.
The match began with four service holds as Keys served up her usual menu of flashy winners and wild errors. From 2-2 in the first set, Keys broke away. The American produced more unforced errors to winners in the first set but served big and played the key points well. Furthermore, her power and depth on return was too much to handle for Kucova who struggled to react in time for the next ball.
Kucova, who came through qualifying, began to show the effects of what had been a superb, but gruelling run at the Rogers Cup. Keys raced out into a 3-0 second set lead and found her A-game in the final three games, firing winners from all areas of the court. Keys wrapped up the win with arguably the shot of the match; a magnificent angled cross-court forehand winner that she played from way outside of the court!
This WTA year has seen a flurry of unexpected runs and Kucova's week is up there with one of the most memorable stories of 2016. Kucova's run saw her defeat Erin Routliffe (#657) and Christina McHale (#63) in qualifying, and then come through the main draw with victories over Yanina Wickmayer (#36), Carla Suárez Navarro (#9), Eugenie Bouchard (#42) and Johanna Konta (#14). By virtue of this dream run, Kucova is set to rise over 40 places in the rankings into the top 80 with a new career best ranking. Kucova has never previously broken into the world's top 100!
While Keys can be hit and miss on the court, her overall slate of results has been very consistent in 2016. The American is into her third final of 2016 and she has posted a 23-4 W-L record on tour since Madrid. The final will be a match-up between two of the WTA's in-form players as Halep's record since Madrid is an impressive, 22-3. The final promises to be a fascinating affair as Keys looks for revenge following their fourth round encounter at Wimbledon earlier this month which Halep won, 6-7(7) 6-4 6-3.
The Montreal final will take place at 1pm local time on Sunday and will be followed by the doubles final where Halep is in action once more with partner, Monica Niculescu up against the experienced Russian pair of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
Post written by James of Moo's Tennis Blog
Photo in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography