Madison Keys claimed the first clay-court title of her career Sunday, winning the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C.
Keys defeated No. 5 seed Caroline Wozniacki, 7-6, 6-3, in the championship match to cap off a fine week on the green clay, her last tournament in the U.S. before the European red clay-court season begins.
It was the American's first title in 18 months and her first final since recovering from knee and wrist injuries. Keys was forced to withdraw from the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai last November with a knee injury, which had also affected her entire Asian hard-court campaign. In 2016, Keys required surgery to repair her left wrist. Last summer, she also suffered from right wrist injuries, which limited her participation in the US Open Series events leading up to the US Open.
Here's more on Keys, who climbed four spots in the latest WTA rankings.
The Madison Keys File
Birthplace: Rock Island, Ill.
Current Ranking: 14
Career-High Rank: 7 (October 2016)
Best US Open Finish: Runner-up (2017)
- Keys' road to the championship was far from easy. She beat former Grand Slam champions Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens and Wozniacki in the third round, quarterfinals and final, respectively, and she also defeated Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig in the semis. Arguably her hardest match came in the second round, a 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 win over Tatjana Maria of Germany, her first tour-level win in three-and-a-half months.
- The title was the fourth of her career, but the first on clay. She had previously won grass-court titles in Eastbourne (2014) and Birmingham (2016) as part of her Wimbleton preparations, and she lifted the trophy at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, Calif., in 2017 in the build up to the US Open.
- Recovering from injuries, Keys was playing just her fourth tournament this season. She pushed Elina Svitolina to three sets in the Round of 16 at the Australian Open in January and lost in her opening matches in Indian Wells and Miami in March. Keys also represented Team USA at Fed Cup in Asheville, N.C., splitting two single matches in an eventual 3-2 team loss to Australia.
- Keys has reached at least the quarterfinals at all four majors. She contested an all-American final with Stephens at the 2017 US Open, and she advanced to the semifinals of the 2015 Australian Open and the 2018 French Open. In 2015, Keys reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
- The 24-year-old Illinois native climbed back to No. 14 in Monday's rankings, the highest she has been since August 2018. The former world No. 7, who now lives in Orlando and trains at the USTA National Campus, will look to build on this momentum as she travels to Europe for the clay-court swing. Keys ended 2018 in the Top 20 for the fourth consecutive time in her career.
They Said It!
“It means so much. I've always loved Charleston. It's always been one of my favorite tournaments, so to now be able to say that I've won the tournament and be on the trophy is really, really special.”