Keys Edges Kerber & Wins Eastbourne
Published June 21, 2014 12:15
Keys had never even been to the final of a WTA event before this week, but things were definitely clicking from the get-go - she didn't lose a set in any of her first four matches, including straight set wins over the No.3 seed, Jelena Jankovic, and the defending champion, Elena Vesnina. Needless to say, even though she was an underdog on paper going into the final with Kerber, she was confident.
And that confidence shone through when it mattered most. The two split the first two sets and went into a holding pattern for most of the third set, until Keys showed some cracks in her 5-all service game, falling behind 0-30 - but she dug out of that one, and after missing three match points on Kerber's serve in the next game she finally closed the match out in an hour and 55 minutes, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
Apart from converting on just two of 11 break points, Keys' numbers for the match were phenomenal: she outbalanced 48 unforced errors with a whopping 60 winners, 17 of which were aces. And she also showed her talents at the net, coming in early and often, and winning 14 of her 19 points up there.
"I'm just so incredibly happy," Keys jubilated after the match. "It's one of those things where when you're training and you don't want to be there, you're tired or everything hurts, you think of this moment, and it really helps push you through all of the hard times. I'm just incredibly happy right now."
Keys was also asked how it felt to be on a trophy that has so many legendary names on it.
Kerber was very impressed with the power Keys was dropping on her during the championship.
"It's not easy when somebody is serving like she did the whole match, but I was trying, and I think I had some good returns, but it was tough to battle," Kerber said. "Like I said before the match, she is really dangerous. She's young and she has a great talent, so for sure she'll be dangerous in the future."
"My serve was definitely a weapon today, and it really helped me the entire time," Keys said. "She raised her level so much in the second set and started playing really well, and I really had to get more aggressive and not be as passive. After that second set I just went for it, and it worked today.
"I have always loved grass. To win my first title on grass is just an amazing experience."
The 19-year-old Keys is the first teenager to win a Premier-level title since Caroline Wozniacki won New Haven in 2009. And with CoCo Vandeweghe conquering 's-Hertogenbosch this week, it's the first time two Americans have won WTA titles in the same week since all the way back in February 2002, when WTA legends Venus Williams and Monica Seles won in Antwerp and Doha, respectively.
Thank you for all the love and support today! My coaches are the best 😊 pic.twitter.com/wowYbepDrB— Madison Keys (@Madison_Keys) June 21, 2014