The Final Four: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
By: Nick McCarvel
While Caroline Wozniacki and Madison Keys are familiar names, don’t count out Monica Puig and Petra Martic. Here’s five things to know about our semifinal field at the 2019 Volvo Car Open.
Puig: Olympic-Level Concentration
Puig won gold for Puerto Rico - making history by booming the first athlete to do so in *ANY* sport - at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and she’s had up-and-down results since, entering this week as the world No. 63.
But she said the last few weeks she's taken to meditating before she goes to sleep, and believes it's not only helping her off the court, but on it, too.
“I think when you’re willing to accept things and when you’re willing to welcome new things after you resisted it for a long time… well, better late than never," she explained. "Now I really understand what mindfulness is all about and what I need to do to take the steps forward (in my tennis).”
Martic: Don’t Call it a Comeback
In the summer of 2016, Martic suffered a back injury that she thought might end her career. It took her nearly a full year to come back, and when she did so - at the French Open in 2017 - she made it all the way to the second week of the major.
Martic fell out of the top 600 in the rankings and thought she might never play again. Now 28, she’s been inside the top 100 over the last two years since making her comeback.
Madison Keys Has a Soft Spot for Charleston
Keys is playing here for the seventh consecutive year, and she’s said it’s one of her favorite stops on tour (no surprise!). Actually, she’s grown up here, in a way: She had her first big match against Venus Williams in the 2013 quarterfinals, then made the final in 2015, losing a tight one to Angelique Kerber.
It’s her second consecutive year in the semifinals here. Last year she bowed out to eventual champ Kiki Bertens.
Wozniacki Has a Clay Whisperer on Her Team
While Wozniacki has won a major title herself (the Australian Open last year), she added one to her coaching team this week to help her adjust to the clay. Wozniacki hired 2010 French Open winner Francesca Schiavone to help her and her father, Piotr, with the transition to clay, and so far, so good: Woz is back in the final four here for the first time since 2011.
15 for 15…
It’s the 15th WTA event of the 2019 season and we’ll have a 15th new champion. Belinda Bencic was the lone remaining player to have one a title this year, but the Swiss player lost out on Friday to Martic, meaning the trend will continue and we’ll have another new champ come Sunday.
But, question is: Who is it going to be?