2016 Aegon Classic

Keys bags second grass crown

American skips past Strycova to clinch Birmingham title

Madison Keys added the Aegon Classic to her only other WTA Tour title – Eastbourne’s 2014 Aegon International – with a straightforward 6-3 6-4 success over Barbora Strycova.

In their first ever grass court meeting it was Keys who looked sharper, but her reluctance to leave the baseline made for an exciting encounter.

The pair had both bounced back from being a set down in their respective semi-final contests to progress to the showdown for glory at Edgbaston’s Priory Club.

And it was Keys who was unflappable in the opening set to take the advantage of a lead.

Despite some tremendous choice of shots by Strycova, who chopped and changed her tactics, there was no way back and Keys clinched the title with a comfortable second set.

For Keys this was her third triumph over Strycova this season, having won on the clay court at the Madrid Open and en route to the final of the Italian Open.

The American was unable to beat compatriot Serena Williams in the final at Rome, but on the Birmingham grass – where she has been formidable but despondent about the tournament being affected by the rain – there was simply no stopping her impressive fireworks.

For Czech Strycova, she now heads to Eastbourne for a shot at winning her first WTA Tour crown since capturing her maiden title five seasons ago.

Strycova could well etch her name on the illustrious list of champions at Devonshire Park given the way that she recorded victories over Karolina Pliskova, Heather Watson, Tsvetana Pironkova and then CoCo Vandeweghe in a topsy-turvy semi-final thriller.

Yet the same can be said of Keys, who despite negativity about the weather should be upbeat after this week claiming the scalps of Timea Babos, Tamira Paszek, Jelena Ostapenko, Carla Suarez Navarro then Strycova.

Keys will appear at Eastbourne having climbed into the world’s top 10 for the first time, and with the Aegon Classic title to her credit she should be buzzing.

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