Kiki Bertens won in Charleston after Saturday’s semi-finals were interrupted by heavy rain and thunderstorms. This meant Bertens had to come out and beat both Madison Keys and Julia Goerges on Sunday, hammering the German 6/2 6/1 in the final. All this whilst nursing a hip injury that she picked up in the previous round against Alize Cornet. Bertens had match points against Venus in Miami, so it was clear that she was playing at a reasonable level coming into this.
Goerges had looked to have found her form at the right time. Having struggled past Kristie Ahn in her opener in a final set breaker she took out Naomi Osaka, last years champion Daria Kasatkina and Anastasija Sevastova in the semis. The serve and forehand had been looking big but it was a below-par performance in the final. Top seeds Caroline Garcia, Petra Kvitova and sixth seed Jo Konta all lost before the completion of the 3rd round. Despite making the last four, Madison Keys hadn’t looked convincing in South Carolina.
Charleston also witnessed the return to the main tour for Laura Siegemund, who returned from a serious knee injury, sustained almost 12 months ago. The German was on fire before this horrible injury and having only played an ITF in Santa Margherita Di Pula, Italy, about three weeks ago this was a satisfying effort. Having beat Natalia Vikhlyantseva she lost in a tight straight sets to Osaka.
World number three Garbine Muguruza was the top seed in Monterrey and she duly obliged by taking the title. She should have been a cut above the field here (second seed Maggie Rybarikova (18) and third seed Lesia Tsurenko (41) shows the rankings gap) but it doesn’t always work out like that as we know. She only dropped one set all week and that was against Timea Babos in the final. This was a tight three-setter that Muguruza had to work her way into from a set and a break down.
Babos had served well throughout the week and kept calm in her semi against Sachia Vickery, having dropped the opener 6/1. Vickery made her second semi of the season and I’m obviously hoping this form continues. There is absolutely no reason why it won’t, she has also reached a new career high of 75 in the latest rankings list. She walloped Rybarikova 6/0 6/3 in the quarters but she says she needs to keep striving to improve her serve.
In the Davis Cup Rafael Nadal made a winning return to action. He didn’t hang around as he hammered both Kohlschreiber and Sascha Zverev in comfortable straight sets. The Spaniards took the tie 3-2, having come from 1-2 down going into the deciding day. They will travel to France for the semi-final after Lucas Pouille made himself a hero by beating Seppi in five and Fognini in four sets, giving the French an unassailable lead.
Like Rafa, Marin Cilic made light work of his opponents. Dmitry Popko and Mikhail Kukushkin were put to the sword in Croatia to give the hosts a comfortable 3-1 lead over the Kazak’s. Next up for the Croats is a home tie against the Americans, they saw off a David Goffin(less) Belgium. Isner and Querrey chipped in on the way to a 4-0 win.
Nadal has confirmed his participation for the remainder of this year’s event. A huge boost for captain Sergei Brugera.
Andy Del Potro