Madison Keys won the All-American final against Alison Riske in the Adelaide International 2 warm-up tournament on Saturday, finding strong form ahead of the Australian Open, which starts of Monday.
I think the biggest takeaway is that things can switch at any moment. As long as you can continue to have the right mindset and keep going for things, and keep working hard, things will get better if they're not going well... I'm just really happy that I've been able to put a lot of good matches together. Madison Keys
The 26-year old former US Open finalist lost just 3 games, getting herself back into the winners circle after an absence of 2 years, with a dominant 6-1 6-2 victory.
“I’m really happy with how today went,” Keys said after her win. “I think I started really well and just had the momentum.
“There were a couple of opportunities where momentum could have switched, and I think I did a really good job of just regrouping and continuing to focus on my side of the court.
“Really happy to get a win.”
In fact, Keys never allowed Riske a look into the WTA 250 final, and took just over an hour to claim her 6th WTA title.
She came into Adelaide as the World No 87, her lowest ranking in 9 years, but now will return to the Top 60 by winning the title this week, having defeated 5 players ranked ahead of her, including 3 seeds in No 2 Elina Svitolina, No 8 Liudmilla Samsonova and No 3 Coco Gauff.
The former World No 7 also extended her dominance against Riske to 6 wins in 7 career meetings, a streak that dates back 8 years, while Saturday’s victory was the most one-sided win in the pair’s head-to-head history.
Using her powerful serve and attacking ground strokes to great effect, Keys was simply too hot to handle for Riske, who dropped the first set in just 29 minutes.
Ranked 57, Riske then lost her opening service game of the second, and then Keys broke her again later in the set before serving it out for her first title since winning Cincinnati in 2019.
Keys was never under any real threat, primarily due a sparkling performance on her serve, and she never faced a break point in the match, losing just 14 points in her 8 service games.
Riske mustered only one groundstroke winner in the match, while 15 of Keys’ 24 came from her forehand.
“I think the biggest takeaway is that things can switch at any moment,” said Keys. “As long as you can continue to have the right mindset and keep going for things, and keep working hard, things will get better if they’re not going well, as long as you just have the right mindset, and continue to have a good attitude about it.
“I’m just really happy that I’ve been able to put a lot of good matches together.
“But the biggest thing that I’m taking away from this week is, even after being in positions where I lost the first set, or things might not be going my way, just having a really collected mindset of ‘I can figure this out’, and if I don’t, I go back onto the practice court, and I figure it out tomorrow.
“Being really conscious of that on the court.”
Keys now faces a tricky AO first-round opponent in another American, Sofia Kenin, the World No 12 and 2020 Australian Open champion, while Riske plays Donna Vekic in her opener at Melbourne Park.
“I think the biggest thing that I’m going to do is just remind myself what I was thinking, and what I was focusing on this week, continuing to do that,” Keys said. “Obviously that’s easier said than done.
“Just knowing from what I was thinking about last year, and the deep, dark pit of despair that I put myself into because of that, I don’t want to go back to that.
“I don’t want to let myself borderline hate being on the tennis court, and hate competing. If I let myself think that way, that’s where it goes.
“Just being really conscious of I went out and I just competed.
“My coach has said before every single match – There is no need to, and there is no have to, we’re going out because we want to, and we’re going to go out and compete, and you’re going to do your best – and that’s it.
“Going to try to keep that going.”
A thrilling doubles final was played on Friday, in which Eri Hozumi & Makoto Ninomiya captured their first title as a team.
The Japanese pair saved a match point in the second set and went on to defeat the all-Czech team of Tereza Martincova & Marketa Vondrousova in a match tiebreak, 1-6 7-6(4) [10-7].
After losing a one-sided opening set, the Japanese pair led by a break twice early in the second, but they were one point from defeat serving at deuce with the Czechs ahead, 6-1, 6-5.
From 2-0 down in the match tiebreak, Hozumi & Ninomiya never again trailed, and pulled ahead for good from 5-5.
Hozumi & Ninomiya were playing their first final as a pair since finishing as runners-up at the 2018 French Open.
Since then, they reached a combined 9 other WTA doubles finals with 7 different partners.
Hozumi captured her 3rd WTA doubles title in victory, while Ninomiya won her 4th.