With no Serena who’s is in her customary post-Wimbledon hibernation, the tournaments like the Canadian Open in Montreal are there for the taking. And tomorrow we’ll have a new champion in either Simona Halep or Madison Keys.
It’s Halep’s second trip to the Canadian final and she hopes this time to not only complete the match but win after retiring last to Belina Bencic. And she’ll be the slight favorite to win against the strong American Madison Keys.
Earlier today in the semifinals, Halep exacted revenge on Angelique Kerber in a streaky match 6-0, 3-6, 6-2 in a match that featured three streaks of six games.
Halep began the match taking the first six games, then it was the Australian Open champ’s turn in the second before Halep again put together a six-game run to close out the match.
When players can’t hit big serves that’s what sometimes can happen, especially in women’s tennis.
“[Kerber] is a very good player,” Halep said. “She knows how to handle every moment because she has a lot of experience, Grand Slam champion. So it’s never easy to play against her.
“But it was really good moment for me to win this match. It’s really important. I’m happy with the way that I played.”
There was no such mystery in the second semifinal. Keys, who does have a monster serve, used said serve to blow out the Cinderella qualifier Kristina Kocova 6-1, 6-2 in under an hour.
“I think I’m playing pretty well,” Keys said. “Today I felt like I was very consistent. I didn’t have that lapse in the middle of the match. Really happy with how everything went.”
Keys was barely troubled by the 26-year-old who was playing in her second career WTA semifinal. And the former US Open junior champ had to get to the final four the hard way, by winning six matches! But today, the week ad caught up and Kucova had little to offer in the way of opposition.
“I couldn’t just pump myself up anymore,” said Kucova, who is set to rise to No.73 on the rankings come Monday. “Everything this week was going so fast. At some point I couldn’t even take it all. So maybe now when I rest one day, I look backwards for all week, I will be satisfied. For sure come to Top 100 was my goal.”
So, Sunday it’s Halep and Keys in a rematch of the Romanian’s 3-set win over Madison in the Wimbledon fourth round. In that match Keys was beset by cramping and a multitude of mistakes after leading by a set and a break.
“[Madison] is a very strong player,” Halep said. “She hits the ball very strong and her serve is good. I expect that I will not have a good rhythm tomorrow because she can hit a winner, and you don’t see the ball.
“I have to stay focused for every ball, not to be upset like today, and just to try to do my style: to be aggressive, what I’m doing the best, to stay aggressive, hit the ball, open the court.”
Halep leads 2-1 but Keys won their only hardcourt meeting at 2014 Sydney. And I think if she keeps her head together and serves well she should take out Halep.
“[Halep] is obviously a great player and she’s playing really well,” Keys said. “She gets a lot of balls back, which is one of her biggest strengths. Her ability to get that extra ball and become the one that’s in charge of the point is what she’s so good at.
“Tomorrow I’m going to have to really be good at making those extra balls and also just knowing she is going to get a lot of balls back, and not get frustrated.”
On a quick court with her power, I actually give the edge to Keys even though Halep has the experience. And she’ll atone for Wimbledon.
The pick: Keys in 3
ESPN2 has live coverage of the women’s final starting at 1pm.
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