By Paul D. Bowker | Aug. 18, 2019, 5:58 p.m. (ET)

Madison Keys after defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) in the women's final at the Western & Southern Open on Aug. 18, 2019 in Mason, Ohio.

 

Madison Keys is powering up her game at the perfect time.

Using a serve that hit 117 miles per hour in the tiebreaker Sunday, Keys defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia to win the women’s singles title at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio. She rallied from behind in both sets to win 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).

The victory was the second this year for Keys, a 2016 Olympian, and the first in WTA Premier 5 tournament. It comes just one week before the start of the U.S. Open, in which Keys reached the final in 2017 against fellow Olympian Sloane Stephens. Earlier this year, Keys won the Volvo Car Open.

Keys lost five of the first eight games in Sunday’s match, but then won three straight games to take the first set, 7-5, on a hot day where temperatures reached the 90s in Cincinnati.

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She had 13 aces to just two by Kuznetsova, including nine aces in the first set alone.

Sunday’s victory vaults Keys from No. 18 in the WTA rankings to the top 10. She reached the quarterfinals in the French Open and the round of 16 in the Australian Open this year. Her close misses have included losing to Stephens in the 2017 U.S. Open and losing in the bronze medal match of the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

This week in Cincinnati, Keys, seeded No. 8, won six consecutive matches, including defeating 2019 Wimbledon champion Simona Halep of Romania in the round of 16. In the quarterfinals and semifinals, Keys won all-American matchups, first against four-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams and then against rising star Sofia Kenin.

The stellar week for Keys came on the heels of consecutive opening-round losses in tournaments in Toronto and Washington. She won just one match at Wimbledon.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.