Madison Keys claimed the first clay court title of her career on Sunday with a straight sets defeat of Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the Charleston Open. In Monterrey, second seed Garbine Muguruza defended her title as Victoria Azarenka retired while trailing 6-1, 3-1.

World number 18 Keys, who had not reached a WTA final since her defeat to Sloane Stephens at the US Open in 2017, took 1hr 46 min to complete a 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 win over Danish fifth seed Wozniacki.

It marked the fourth title of Keys career and her first since winning at Stanford in 2017. Her win also completed a superb week in South Carolina, where she defeated three Grand Slam champions – Jelena Ostapenko, Stephens and Wozniacki – to take the title.

After winning a close opening set on a tiebreak, Keys took control of the second set with a stroke of good fortune. A netcord earned her a break to go 4-2 up, and from there she was not going to surrender the initiative and duly closed out the set to complete the win.

For former world No 1 and two-time Grand Slam winner Azarenka, it was her first final in three years, after giving birth and being embroiled in a custody battle for her son. However, her good week in Mexico came to an end when a leg injury made it impossible for her to continue after 66 minutes of play.

This was the first title of the season for Spain’s Muguruza, a former world No 1 who has slipped down the ranks. Her seventh career title is also the first time she had defended a WTA singles title.

With inputs from AFP