Wozniacki, Keys Set for Sensational Championship Sunday
In the 19 years the Volvo Car Open has called Daniel Island home, there have been some memorable finals.
Capriati vs. Hingis. Henin vs. Serena. Venus vs. Conchita Martinez.
Sunday another must-see championship match will be added to that list, as 2011 winner here Caroline Wozniacki takes center stage to try and win title No. 31 of her career against American Madison Keys, the 2015 runner-up.
It’s Madi vs. Caro. And it couldn’t be any more compelling.
“I’m definitely going to look at how she’s been playing and just try to have a really great game plan,” said Keys, 24, who lost to Angelique Kerber four years ago at this same hurdle. “More than that, (I’m) just focused on myself, and I’m really proud of what I’ve done this week. I’m just going to go out and try to have some fun.”
What has been “fun” is watching these two champions progress over the last week in Charleston.
Wozniacki has dropped just one set while Keys has lost just two. In their two previous meetings it’s been one-way traffic for Wozniacki, who won both in straight-sets, most recently at Indian Wells in 2016.
But both of those were on hard courts, and the green clay is their first week of the season transitioning to the slower, slippery stuff.
“I just need to keep working on my movement (on clay) and keep working on my game so that I get better every week,” Wozniacki said. “I just think I’ve had a positive attitude this week, and I think I’ve played some smart tennis.”
Part of that smart tennis has been attributed to Wozniacki’s addition of Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, to her coaching team this week. She does, however, have a particular affinity for playing in the Lowcountry.
Saturday’s semifinal win was her 19th in her career here, the most on the WTA. Second? Keys, at 15.
Keys would like to finish anything but second come Sunday afternoon, when all eyes in Charleston – and really, in the global game of women’s tennis – will be on the Volvo Car Open final.
It’s a third for Wozniacki, having been runner-up here in her debut appearance in 2009, ten years ago. While Wozniacki is in search of her first title in six months (Beijing), Keys hasn’t claimed a title since the summer of 2017, when she won at Stanford.
That all sets us up for what promises to be a compelling Sunday matinee. It’s the kind of clash we’re lucky to witness: A major champ taking on a former major finalist with a tournament trophy on the line.
Grab your popcorn. This is what they call a “popcorn” match.