2019 Cincinnati Open final: Madison Keys vs Svetlana Kuznetsova, Preview and Prediction
After a week's worth of intense action, it has come down to the final two in Cincinnati. Madison Keys and Svetlana Kuznetsova have surpassed expectations to earn their respective places in the 2019 Western & Southern Open summit clash.
While Kuznetsova took out potential title-contenders in the form of Ashleigh Barty and Karolina Pliskova, Keys swept asides the likes of Simona Halep and Venus Williams. The quality of opponents that they have beaten this week is really a testament to their current form.
While Kuznetsova relies heavily on her movement and agility to get every ball back, Keys likes to go big early on in rallies.
They also have contrasting groundstrokes: Keys hits a very flat ball when compared to the topspin-heavy strokes from Kuznetsova. In the conditions on offer at Cincinnati, the edge is definitely with Keys whose powerful forehands have proven to be too hot to handle this week.
When playing to her potential, Keys can seem quite unstoppable, and this has been the case this week.
However, Kuznetsova is well-equipped to counter the American's powerful game. The Russian is a brilliant counter-puncher and successfully neutralized the power of Pliskova and Sloane Stephens this week. She will have to adopt a similar style of play to try and frustrate Keys, forcing the American into errors.
Keys is not immune to the occasional meltdown, especially when faced with opponents like the Russian, and she will have to maintain her focus throughout the match against a very determined Kuznetsova.
This match has all the makings of an absolute classic. If Kuznetsova can dig deep and defend aggressively, she can gain the upper hand. However, if Keys finds her rhythm early, the match could be over in no time.
Prediction: Madison Keys to win in straight sets.