The 16th seed Madison Keys is through to the ninth WTA final and the first in Cincinnati following a 7-5, 6-4 victory over the young compatriot Sofia Kenin in an hour and 22 minutes. Firing 14 aces, Keys delivered big numbers behind the first serve, struggling on the second and saving seven out of ten break chances to reduce the damage in her games.
On the other hand, Sofia also had to fight against ten break opportunities, giving serve away five times in rain-delayed encounter to push Madison into the title clash against Svetlana Kuznetsova. Back in May in Rome, Kenin found the way to overpower the more experienced rival but that wasn't the case today, with Keys hitting 41 winners and 21 unforced errors to have the upper hand in the rallies and the crucial points.
Madison drew first blood in the fourth game, breaking at 15 after a forehand error from Kenin and fending off a couple of break chances in the next game to cement the advantage and move 4-1 in front after 15 minutes. Returning at 3-5, Sofia broke back in the very last moment thanks to a forehand mistake from Madison, refusing to surrender like many times this week and extending her chances in the opener.
The youngster defended two set points in the tenth game with two winners before Keys found a way to grab a break in game 12 for a 7-5 after 43 minutes thanks to a backhand error from Kenin. Sofia converted the fifth break chance in the third game of the second set after a double fault from Keys who broke back at 2-3 with a backhand winner, leveling the score at 3-3 before Sofia broke again to move 4-3 up.
Her lead was a short-lived one, though, getting broken at 15 in the next game and wasting a break chance in the ninth game thanks to a service winner from Keys who survived in that game to gain a 5-4 advantage, sealing the deal with the third straight break for a 6-4 and the place in the final.