American Madison Keys overcame late leads by Svetlana Kuznetsova in both sets to defeat the Russian for the Cincinnati Masters title on Sunday.
The confidence-boosting 7-5, 7-6(5) victory sent Keys into the US Open later this month as the world’s number 10 ranked player.
“If you told me a week ago this is where I would be, I would have laughed in your face!” Keys said in accepting the tournament trophy.
In both sets, the 2017 US Open finalist trailed 5-3 before rallying to win.
Keys won four consecutive games to claim the opener. She needed a tiebreak to prevail in the second.
The triumph was the fourth in a row on hardcourts for the 16th-seeded Keys over Kuznetsova and the 24-year-old’s fifth career title.
The 34-year-old Kuznetsova, twice a Grand Slam champion, served for the first set but Keys held out before winning four consecutive games.
In the second set Kuznetsova broke Keys in the third game and went ahead 3-1.
But Keys, down 5-3, won three games in a row to go up 6-5.
This time, Kuznetsova fought back, forcing a tiebreak when the ball touched the top of the net and rolled over to the other side, creating a light moment that had Keys smiling in disbelief.
Kuznetsova reached 4-4 in the tiebreak but then mis-hit a return and Keys used a diagonal forehand for double championship point, sealing the match after Kuznetsolva had closed to 6-5.
Keys delivered 13 aces and 45 winners against 29 unforced errors. Kuznetsova had just two aces and 15 winners.
Marathon man Medvedev beats Goffin for Cincinnati crown
Russian Daniil Medvedev survived cramps and tantrum where he cracked a racquet to clinch his first Masters 1000 title on Sunday with a 7-6(3), 6-4 win over David Goffin in the final of the Cincinnati Masters.
Medvedev saved two breaks points while serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set before winning the next four, three of them with aces to close out his dogged Belgian opponent.
It was the second title of the year for Medvedev, who had lost on the past two Sundays, to Nick Kyrgios in Washington and Rafa Nadal in Montreal.
“It would be not a good feeling if I lost three finals in a row so it’s just a relief and I’m so happy,” he said in a courtside interview with ESPN after playing his 16th match in 20 days.
“I started feeling cramps at 5-3 (in the second set), first time in three weeks I started cramping, probably because of the nerves and it’s been 24 days in a row I played tennis."
“I started cramping quite hard, so last game, 15-40, I know if it’s going to be five-all I’m in a bad position."
“I made four serves that he didn’t return and three of them were aces. It’s just unbelievable.”
The pressure perhaps showed in the final game when Medvedev hurled his racquet to the ground after losing a point, but the temper tantrum was short lived and he regrouped quickly to clinch his fifth title in two years.
Earlier, Goffin did well to force a first set tiebreak by holding serve, including winning a 29-rally point.
But the Belgian, without a victory since 2017, lost the tiebreak on a double-fault.
“He played unbelievable the last three weeks,” Goffin said.
“He’s super solid. He doesn’t miss. It’s like playing against a wall. That’s why everybody is struggling, because he’s so consistent, now with more confidence.”
Medvedev, who beat world number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, plans a short rest before the US Open starts in eight days.
“I need some days off,” he said. “I’ve been playing tennis for so long in a row. I just need to stay in the bed for a few days watching the TV 24 hours a day."
“Hopefully I can regroup and get to the US Open fresh.”