Often, when we discuss Madison Keys, we start with her easy power — how she manages to generate pace filled shots with relatively little effort, a product of superior timing and skill. But, the signature shot of her semifinal win in Cincinnati today was a deft passing shot, short on power, but thrilling all the same.
Keys’ 7-5, 6-4 victory was not an easy one, though. Sofia Kenin put up an admirable fight — coming back from being a break down in the first set, and trading breaks in the second, but could not overcome the steady play of Keys. Kenin has had a successful run through the Toronto-Cincinnati double, with semifinal runs at both, but falling to a resurgent Bianca Andreescu and a powerful hometown crowd in Toronto, and not quite able to overcome Keys today.
As for Keys, she’s in a good position going into tomorrow’s final against Svetlana Kuznetsova. The shotmaking she has shown all week will be necessary to combat the athleticism of Kuznetsova. But, the opening up of the draw gives Keys an excellent opportunity to grab her second title of the year, after her win in Charleston, and would put her on the short list of U.S. Open favorites in New York.