Madison Keys turned back the clock with a commanding performance in the Adelaide international 2 final, surrendering just three games against fellow American Alison Riske.
Playing in her first final since January 2020, Keys clinched her first title in two-and-a-half years with a 6-1 6-2 win over Riske.
Keys, who peaked at world No.7 in 2016 yet currently sits at 87th, is expected to return to the cusp of the top 50 after her winning week at Memorial Drive Tennis Centre.
She belted 28 winners to Riske’s three in the 66-minute rout.
Madison Keys wins her 1st title since 2019 Cincinnati, defeating Alison Riske 61 62 to win Adelaide 2.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) January 15, 2022
“I think the biggest takeaway (for me) is (knowing) that things can switch at any moment. As long as you can continue to have the right mindset and keep going for things and keep working hard, things will get better if they’re not going well,” Keys said.
“I’m just really happy that I’ve been able to put a lot of good matches together.
“The biggest thing that I’m taking away from this week is even after being in positions where I lost the first set or things might not be going my way, just having a really collected mindset of I can figure this out, and if I don’t I go back onto the practice court and I figure it out tomorrow.”
Riske’s quarterfinal opponent Madison Brengle retired at 3-3 in the first set of their match after suffering a right calf problem. And she did not play her semifinal, when fourth seed Tamara Zidansek pulled out beforehand with an abdominal injury.
As a result Riske was perhaps lacking the sharpness of Keys, who upset three seeds – Elina Svitolina, Liudmila Samsonova and Coco Gauff – on her way to the final and who began Saturday’s final in stellar form.
Winners flowed from her racquet as she broke for a 3-1 lead, and again for 5-1, before pocketing the first set in 27 mintutes.
And she immediately took control of the second set, belting a backhand return winner for 0-40 and then a forehand passing shot winner down the line to break Riske at love in the very first game.
Riske did well to make the second set more competitive, but she was constantly defending against Keys, whose rally balls were superior in both pace and depth.
Rarely did Keys’ level dip throughout, even when faced with the ever-tricky task of serving out a final.
She quickly raced to a 40-0 lead, and converted her second championship point to earn her sixth career title.
Her last title came at the Cincinnati in August 2019.
Game. Set. Match! 😲
No shame for Alison Riske – Madison Keys could've defeated a brick wall today! 👏👏
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 15, 2022
“I feel like my brain has already so quickly switched off of this and into Melbourne,” said Keys, who opens her Australian Open campaign against 2020 champion Sofia Kenin.
“I think I’m going to try to make myself enjoy this for a little bit longer and just really absorb what I did this week and really learn from it.
“Then tomorrow morning it will probably be at the very, very back of my brain (smiling).”