Madison Keys has become the ninth American player in history to win the Volvo Car Open in Charleston after overcoming Caroline Wozniacki 7-6(5), 6-3, in a heavy-hitting encounter.
The 24-year-old, who was runner-up in the tournament back in 2015, managed to go one step further this year with the help of her powerful shot-making. Illustrated by Keys’ six aces and 45 winners produced throughout the match. A stark contrast to Wozniacki’s tally of two and seven.
“Every time I come here (to Charleston) I feel like I’m at home and the support I have from everyone in the stands means the absolute world to me.” Keys said during the trophy presentation.
Heading into the showdown in Charleston, Wozniacki boasted a 2-0 head-to-head record against her American rival. Winning both of those matches in straight sets. However, this time round Keys found a formula to keep pressure on Wozniacki throughout a dramatic opening set. The all or nothing play from Keys saw her hit a series of breathtaking shots alongside some erratic errors. 25 winners to 24 unforced errors to be precise. Trading breaks during the early stages of the match, it was a tiebreaker that separated the two.
Keys’ fierce forehand put off her opponent, who hit a double fault to hand her a mini break for 5-3. A point later Keys secured a triple set point opportunity after a costly mistake from Wozniacki saw her leave the ball, which landed in. Prompting gasps of surprise from the crowd. Still, closing the set out wasn’t easy for the world No.18, who saw two chances come and go. Nevertheless, Keys prevailed on her third opportunity with the help of a winning backhand shot to clinch the opener after 75-minutes of tense play.
Continuing to stand firm behind her serve, Keys battled towards the finish title. During the second set it was a stroke of luck that helped her secure a breakthrough. A Wozniacki backhand into the net rewarded Keys a break point opportunity to extend her lead to a set and 4-2. An opportunity she seized with the help of a shot that tapped the top of the net before landing onto her opponent’s side of the court. Leaving the former Australian Open champion bemused about the situation.
Tasked with serving for her maiden clay-court title, Keys roared to two championship points against her frustrated rival. Victory was then secured with the help of a straightforward volley. Resulting in a fist clench and a roar of joy from the new Charleston champion.
What a week for @Madison_Keys.
Defeats Tatjana Maria, Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens (1st win), Monica Puig, and now Caroline Wozniacki (1st win) to capture her 1st clay title, 1st title since 2017, and 4th overall. #VolvoCarOpen
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) April 7, 2019
The triumph extends Wozniacki’s drought on the clay. The Dane hasn’t won a title on the surface since the Brussel Open back in 2011. In total Wozniacki has won four titles on the clay, which is the eighth highest amount among active players on the WTA Tour.
“Congratulations on an incredible week and well played today. You were just too good for me.” She said in tribute to Keys.
“I want to thank my family in my box. You guys have always been there for me when I win or when I lose. Also, thank you Francesca (Schiavone). I feel like although my love for clay hasn’t always been there, this week has been very enjoyable.”
Keys’ triumph marks the first week of her reunion with coach Juan Todero, who worked with her during 2013 and 2014. Todero has previously mentored WTA players such as Monica Puig, Lauren Davis and Alison Riske.
“It was a really good first week for my coach and I. Hopefully we can keep this up at a kind of high bar.” Keys evaluated.
As a result of her title, Keys will rise to 14th in the WTA rankings when they are updated on Monday. Meanwhile, Wozniacki will be in 12th position.
Dominika Cibulkova announces her retirement from tennis
Dominika Cibulkova has announced her retirement from professional tennis at an event in her home town of Bratislava. The 30-year-old Slovakian player won eight titles on hard-court, grass, and indoor surfaces and achieved her career-high of world number 4 on 20th March 2017.
Cibulkova reached the semifinal at the 2009 Roland Garros, three quarter-finals at Wimbledon (i2011, 2016 and 2018) and the quarter-final at the US Open in 2010. She became the first Slovakian player to reach a Grand Slam final when she finished runner-up to Li Na at the 2014 Australian Open. She achieved the best result of her career in October 2016, when she beat former world number 1 Angelique Kerber at the WTA Finals in Singapore to clinch the Billie Jean King Trophy. That year Dominika won three more titles at Katowice, Eastbourne, and Linz. She also finished runner-up in Acapulco, Madrid, and Wuhan.
“It wasn’t just winning the WTA Finals, but also the road to qualifying, which was really hard. I had to win in Linz just to make it there. While winning Singapore was the biggest moment of my career and life, winning Linz and the way I had to fight to get there, the fact that I was able to do it and belong among the best players in the world”, said Cibulkova in an interview to the WTA Website.
Cibulkova also won four more titles in Moscow 2011, Carlsbad 2012, Stanford 2013 and Acapulco 2014.
She represented the Slovak Republic at two editions of the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 and London 2012 and has scored a record of 22 wins and 11 defeats in her Fed Cup appearances.
Cibulkova decided Roland Garros would be the final tournament of her career.
“It wasn’t a decision where I woke up and thought: “I don’t want to play anymore”. It was a long process. I was already convinced by the time I played Azarenka in Miami, that this could be my last match. It was strange because I knew, and no one around me except my team knew it would be my last tournament. At that point, I was 100 percent sure. I was not doubting or thinking: maybe yes or no. I knew I wanted to do it like this, for this to be my last tournament. I went home and I was happy with my decision. It’s really hard to make it, but once you do, you more free. I feel like this life has been fulfilled for me, and I want to start a new one. I was already feeling like the tennis life is really tough, with all the traveling and training, giving 100 % every day. I started to get tired of it. In the end, I gave enough and achieved things I never dreamed of reaching in my career ”, said Cibulkova.
Karolina Pliskova Splits From Coach With A Possible Replacement Already In The Pipeline
The Czech made the surprise announcement on social media as she enters negotiations with an unnamed individual.
World No.2 Karolina Pliskova has ended her collaboration with Conchita Martinez after working together for more than a year.
Pliskova, who has won four WTA titles this season, had been working with the Spaniard since the 2018 US Open. She originally joined the team on a part-time basis before being upgraded to a full-time position in February this year. Martinez is a former player best known for winning the 1994 Wimbledon Championships.
“I decided I will no longer work with Conchita,” Pliskova posted on Instagram. “It was a tough decision, as the season was great. Thank you for all this year, and wish you only the best. Life is a change!”
The decision comes after what has been a solid year on the tour for the 27-year-old. Overall, she has won 51 out of 68 matches played. Recording five wins over top five opponents. In the grand slams she reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in what was her best ever performance at the tournament. However, she failed to repeat that success at the other three majors. Reaching the third round of the French Open followed by the last 16 in both Wimbledon and the US Open.
“Just a little note to inform you that Karolina and I have decided to take different paths next year.” Martinez wrote in a statement. “It has been an incredible year full of great moments and emotions. I wish Kaja and her team the best for the future.”
It may not be long before the identity of who replaces Martinez is revealed. Michal Hrdlicka, who is Pliskova’s manager and husband, has confirmed to Czech News Agency CTK that discussions are underway with an unnamed individual.
“After the Champions Tournament (WTA Finals), we started negotiations on the engagement of a new coach. Negotiations are underway and we will inform the fans when they are over.” He said.
In her last tournament of 2019, Pliskova reached the semi-finals of the WTA Finals. She was knocked out of the event by top seed Barty who went on to win the title.
Pliskova has finished the year ranked No.2 on the WTA rankings. The highest year-end ranking she has ever achieved so far in her career.
Top WTA Coach Accused Of False Advertising
Kamau Murray, who was shortlisted for WTA coach of the year in 2018, has been accused by a top 100 player of ‘taking credit for things he has not done.’
American tennis player Taylor Townsend has launched an attack on a tennis coach who guided Sloane Stephens to her first grand slam title at the 2017 US Open.
Kamau Murray has been accused of ‘misrepresenting himself’ in the sport by the former world No.1 junior player. The criticism has been sparked by the USPTA Illinois Mini Conference, which will take place on November 17th. In the advertisement it states that Murray is Townsend’s coach. Something she has denies in a lengthy Instagram post.
“Zina Garrison was my primary coach from September 2013-March 2,” she wrote.
“I did not to go public in the past because I had hoped to resolve this matter directly with Kamau Murray. I will no longer remain silent while he (Murray) continues his lies and false advertisement.’
“I did not give Kamau consent to use my name and likeness for his ongoing personal and business monetary gain.”
Townsend, who reached the fourth round of the US Open this year, also took a swipe at Murray over his previous work with Monica Puig. In August the Puerto Rican confirmed that her partnership with the coach has ended after he returned back to working alongside Stephens. Puig told reporters at the US Open that she was informed by ‘people close to her’ that Murray was working with another player in secret. Branding it as a ‘slap in the face.’ Stephens responded to Puig claims by stating that there were ‘two sides to every story.’
“I can no longer remain silent while he continues to deceive professional players, aspiring players, sponsors, and the tennis community by misrepresenting himself and taking credit for things he has not done.” Said Townsend. “Monica Puig is a recent victim of his deception.”
Murray is the founder of the XS Tennis and Education Foundation and has his own tennis facility in Chicago. According to the WTA, he helped guide Townsend to the third round of the 2014 French Open in what was her grand slam debut at the age of 18.
There has been no reply from Murray concerning Townsend’s allegation.
View this post on Instagram
If you know me, then you know that this is NOT something that I would normally do, but I feel that it’s time to set the record straight about Chicago’s Kamau Murray of XS Tennis Academy. I can no longer remain silent while he continues to deceive professional players, aspiring players, sponsors, and the tennis community by misrepresenting himself and taking credit for things he has not done. @monicaace93 is a recent victim of his deception. I started my tennis with Donald Young SR. and Illona Young, who taught me to play tennis from 4 years old and assisted in me being number 1 in junior in the world. From 2010- August 2013, I trained at the USTA under the instruction of Kathy Rinaldi and briefly Juan Todero. Zina Garrison was my primary coach from September 2013- March 2015. Zina brought Kamau on board as an assistant coach during that time. I did not to go public in the past because I had hoped to resolve this matter directly with Kamau Murray. I will no longer remain silent while he continues his lies and false advertisement. I did not give Kamau consent to use my name and likeness for his ongoing personal and business monetary gain. Kamau is currently stating that he is my coach in promotion of the upcoming USPTA Illinois Mini Conference on November 17, 2019 held at XS Athletic Club. His latest actions have prompted me to expose his past and ongoing pattern of deceit. If you are a fan of mine, please support me and have my back regarding this matter. In doing this, I am clearing my conscience and telling another piece of my story! Thank you so much! I love you guys! 💕
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