Eastbourne | Keys lands her 3rd grass court title

Madison Keys won the Rothesay International on Saturday when she beat Daria Kastakina, 6-2 7-6(13) in the final, bagging the second Eastbourne crown of her career, having first lifted the trophy in 2014, the first WTA title of her career.

It has been a pretty tough year for me, and being able to hold this trophy is absolutely amazing. If you told both of us, two weeks ago, that this is where I would be, we would not believe it. Madison Keys

It took the unseeded American 28-year old an hour and 42 minutes to upset the 9th-seeded Russian, and take her 7th WTA title overall, her first on grass since winning Birmingham in 2016.

“I love coming and playing here – being able to win the title here twice now, definitely makes me have very fond memories of Eastbourne,” Keys said afterwards.

Ranked 25th, Keys has sent a warning shot across the bows of the top seeds at Wimbledon as she has been in imperious form at the WTA 500 tournament in Eastbourne, having not dropped a set on her way to landing the title.

On Saturday, the American looked to be cruising towards her 3rd grass court title as she raced through the first set, and she did not face a break point for a set-and-a-half as she opened up a 6-2, 4-1 lead in under an hour on court, aided by a series of lucky net-cords that all went in Keys’ way, and with Kasatkina battling the blustery conditions.

The Russian, ranked 11, is a fighter, though, and her perseverance paid off as she gradually found her stride to take 5 of the next 6 games to move matters into a breaker.

Kasatkina had carved out the first 2 break points against the Keys serve in the 5th fifth game, which the American saved, before the Russian grabbed a foothold in the second set which lasted over 70 minutes on its own.


Daria Kasatkina fought her way back into contention against Madison Keys but lost the final in a marathon second set tiebreak

© Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The tiebreak between the two was the second-longest on the WTA Tour this year, following the 30-point effort by Petra Kvitova and Elena Rybakina in the final of the Miami Open, which was won by Kvitova, 7-6(14) 6-2.

Keys jumped out to leads of 3-0 and 5-2 in the eventual 28-point tiebreak, but failed to win the match at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7 as increased wind gusts began to affect play.

Kasatkina, again, battled back from 2-5 down to hold 4 set points, at 9-8, 10-9, 11-10 and 12-11, before Keys, using her formidable forehand to greater effect, won 4 of the last 5 points.

A 30-shot rally on Keys’ 5th and final match point saw her outgun Kasatkina’s court craft and guile, before the American stepped up the court to hammer a forehand winner, her 34th in the match, while the Russian, significantly, had only fired 7.

“It has been a pretty tough year for me, and being able to hold this trophy is absolutely amazing,” she said, thanking her team and fiancé, ATP pro Bjorn Fratangelo, for their support. “If you told both of us, two weeks ago, that this is where I would be, we would not believe it.”

Both Keys and Kasatkina now turn their attention to the grass-court Grand Slam at Wimbledon, which begins on Monday.

Keys, seeded No 25 this year, will face British wild-card Sonay Kartal in the opening round on Tuesday, while Kasatkina, the 11th seed who will enter the world’s Top 10 next week, will face Keys’ compatriot Caroline Dolehine on Monday.

Both players are former quarter-finalists at Wimbledon, Keys having reached the Last 8 in 2015, while Kasatkina did it in 2018.


Desirae Krawczyk & Demi Schuurs defeated Nicole Melichar-Martinez & Ellen Perez to win the Eastbourne doubles title

LTA.org.uk

In the doubles final, American Desirae Krawczyk & Demi Schuurs from the Netherlands, the No 3 seeds, took home the title, defeating another American, Nicole Melichar-Martinez & Ellen Perez from Australia, 6-2 6-4, after 74 minutes of play.

After dropping the opening set, Melichar-Martinez & Ellen Perez looked to fight their way back into the encounter, but Krawczyk & Schuurs stayed resilient to save all 5 break points they were faced with in the second, before finding a break of their own at 4-3 to put the result beyond doubt.

“To the fans, thank you so much for staying”, Krawczyk said “It’s been really windy and cold but we really appreciate you guys coming out and supporting us.

“Thank you to the ball kids, physios for helping us staying in piece all week. I can’t wait to come back next year”.

“Thank you guys for staying out here for the doubles,” Schuurs added. “It’s really nice to have some people around the court.

“Desirae, thank you again for playing with me this week – we had a fun week, a little more fun than usual, so hopefully we can continue this line.”

The title is the team’s second of the season and third overall, having won Stuttgart in April, while it is Schuurs’ 17th career doubles title, and Krawczyk’s 10th.


Daria Kasatkina and Madison Keys pose with their runners-up and winners trophies after the Rothesay International Eastbourne final

© Justin Setterfield/Getty Images


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