Few would have predicted that the last two women standing in the WTA Cincinnati would be Madison Keys and Svetlana Kuznetsova, but both have played some excellent tennis in Ohio to earn their place in the final. The question now is: who will claim the title?
WTA Cincinnati Final Prediction
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Madison Keys
Head-to-head: Keys 3-0 Kuznetsova
It has been a difficult period for Kuznetsova, who has slipped outside the world’s top 150 and had visa issues just trying to get into the country to play. However, from the second she took to the court at the Western & Southern Open, she has played with skill and confidence. As a two-time Major champion, the fact that she can do so is no surprise, but that she is doing it at the age of 34, a full 15 years after her US Open triumph, is impressive and worthy of great praise.
Meanwhile, Keys came to Cincinnati fresh from two opening-round defeats, suffered at the hands of Donna Vekic in Toronto and world #283 Hailey Baptiste in Washington. Hardly the type of form that suggested she would make the final. But her season has sparked into life in Cincinnati and she will now surely view herself as having a good chance of claiming the title.
Both players made it through to the final by defeating their semifinal opponents in straight sets. Kuznetsova climbed all over the Ash Barty serve to deny the Australian, who won the French Open in June, the chance to reclaim the #1 ranking she recently lost to Naomi Osaka. She had done the exact same thing to Sloane Stephens and, to a lesser extent, Karolina Pliskova. Keys produced a serving masterclass against fellow American young gun Sofia Kenin. 14 aces and over 80% points won behind her first serve, although Kenin did fashion 10 break points, converting three of them.
And the available statistical evidence suggests that that Keys should win this match and the title with it. Keys leads the head to head convincingly 3-0, with the Russian yet t win a set against Keys. Keys’ win/loss record in 2019 is far superior, across all three surfaces. Keys also has superior hold/break numbers, holding serve more often than Kuznetsova and breaking her opponents more regularly.
That said, if this week has shown anything then it is not to count out experienced players. Venus Williams has had a great run here and Kuznetsova has obviously also found her very best form. It is nonetheless hard to pick against Keys, who is looking for her second title of the year after her win in Charleston in April. Her serve gives her a weapon that Kuznetsova cannot match and that should provide the platform for her to continue her great record against Kuznetsova, although expect both sets to be close.
Prediction: Keys in 2
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