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16] Madison Keys vs. [WC] Svetlana Kuznetsova 

 

After a week of grueling battles and impressive upsets, No. 16 seed Madison Keys and wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova will face off for the Western & Southern Open women's title on Sunday.  

 

Keys came in having won just one match since Roland Garros in May. With wins this week over Garbine Muguruza, Daria Kasatkina, No. 4 seed Simona Halep, Venus Williams and, on Saturday, fellow American Sofia Kenin, she’s headed to her first hard court final since the 2017 US Open. 

 

History suggests Keys may have an advantage on Sunday. At 24-years-old, Keys is a decade younger than her final opponent, and has also won their last three meetings in straight sets, with the last coming in Beijing in 2016. 

 

“She's obviously been playing well,” Keys said of Kuznetsova. “I haven't gotten to see a ton of what she is doing this tournament, but in order for her to be in this position, she's obviously playing some really good tennis.

 

“I think she's an interesting person to play because she's not the norm on the tour,” Keys added. “You know, she plays with a little bit more spin. She likes to slice. She has a lot of variety. I'm definitely going to have to watch for that.”

 

Anyone who has seen Kuznetsova play this week can vouch for the fact that she looks as fit and sharp as ever, 15 years after her US Open triumph and a decade after her Roland Garros title. 

 

Her path to the final has included wins over four seeds - No. 11 Anastasija Sevastova, No. 8 Sloane Stephens, No. 3 Karolina Pliskova and No. 1 Ashleigh Barty. She’ll be looking to add the No. 16 seed to that list on Sunday. 

 

“Madison is extremely tough,” Kuznetsova said. “When she's on fire, it's really hard to play against her. It's going to be difficult matchup.”

 

Making her Cincy Tennis results even more impressive is the fact that Kuznetsova is contesting just her ninth tournament since returning from a seven-month layoff due to a knee injury. At No. 153, she is the lowest ranked player to reach the Cincinnati final since the WTA returned here in 2004. She also saved two match points in the second round against Dayana Yastremska. 

 

One final battle awaits. 

 

 

[9] Daniil Medvedev vs. [16] David Goffin

 

When Daniil Medvedev and David Goffin take the court on Sunday for a shot at hoisting the Rookwood Cup, they will also be chasing a bit of personal history: a first Masters 1000 title. 

 

Russia’s Medvedev is contesting an impressive third final in as many weeks, having finished runner up in both Washington, D.C. and Montreal. He’s also the first player to reach the Canada and Cincinnati finals in the same seasons since Novak Djokovic in 2015. It’s ironic, then, that Medvedev took out Djokovic on Saturday, denying the world No. 1 a repeat title here and handing him his first loss since Roland Garros. 

 

At 23, Medvedev is bidding to become the youngest Cincy champion since 21-year-old Andy Murray in 2008, but he’ll need to get past No. 16 seed Goffin first. They have split their past two meetings, with Medvedev winning in straight sets at the Australian Open and Goffin prevailing in five sets at Wimbledon.

 

“I think I will need to play aggressively, especially remembering my match in Wimbledon against David,” explained Medvedev, who has more wins this year than any player on tour with 43. “I felt that I couldn't keep up with his consistency when he's in great shape.”

 

One year after reaching his first Cincinnati semifinal, Goffin is now the first Belgian to reach a Masters 1000 final, and will be seeking his fifth career title. He described his final opponent as one of the best two players in tennis right now, but promised a battle.

 

“I'm just focused on what I have to do step by step,” said Goffin. “I try to do my best. I try to win every match, and then we see at the end.”

 

See the full schedule, including the men's doubles final, here. 

 

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