Today’s matchup in the Bank of the West Classic singles final could well be a sign of even better things come. The two finalists, Americans Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe, have for several years been touted as potential Grand Slam champions.
Each had a major career breakthrough at the Australian Open. Keys reached the semis there in 2015. Vandeweghe also made it to the final four this year.
Most significantly, each plays a brand of powerful, athletic tennis that could well take the WTA to a new level. In an era when service motions are often mediocre, these Keys and Vandeweghe possess two of the best deliveries in the game, full-bodied swings that showcase athleticism, skill, power and accuracy. Credit good coaching and sustained practice from a young age.
Keys and Vandeweghe back up their serves with extremely forceful groundstrokes, particularly off the forehand. When these two are clicking, it’s a sight to behold, each able to thoroughly dictate play.
But when the wheels come off, watching each can be frustrating. Neither appears comfortable on defense. Is that a function of speed? Mental alertness? Lack of awareness of what the opponent has done?
It’s interesting to note that of the four singles titles Keys and Vandeweghe have collectively won, all of have been on that aggression-heavy surface, grass. That will change today at the Bank of the West Classic.
And though their playing styles have much in common, they separate in the manner of comportment. While Keys usually strikes me as wanting mostly to let her racquet do the talking, Vandeweghe has more, shall we say, on-court bravado. Amazingly, this is the first time these two have played one another. Surely, as each continues to put the pieces together and find sustainability, it won’t be the last.