The Clay Season is Here
The Clay Season is here; how are the American women looking?
I learned to play on red clay. It is an understatement to say that tennis on hard courts is a different game. As difficult as it is for a clay-courter to play on hard courts, it is even harder for players used to hard courts to play on the red clay! The court is slow, the movement is tricky and points are much longer.
There are, of course ways to adapt, if not there would never be champions with a Career Grand Slams; eight men (Rod Laver, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic) and six women (Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova) were able to adjust to and excel on any surface, including clay.
That said, the transition is usually challenging and most American players have had a hard time making it. This year, however, American women are looking good.
With her first championship in two years at the Volvo Car Open, on clay, Madison Keys has increased her chances of being a serious contender to win the most important tournament on the red clay, Roland Garros.
Clay not being among her favorite surfaces, Keys was not sure about the outcomes; however, her performance in the final against the extremely consistent Caroline Wozniacki removed any doubts about her abilities to win a championship on the surface.
Keys did not win by just out-hitting her opponent, but by out-strategizing her. Key acknowledged Wozniacki, with her precision and persistence, as one of toughest players on tour to find openings against. This title has Keys reconsider her views on clay, moving it up on her list of favorite surfaces.
With the title at Volvo Car Open, Keys becomes the highest-ranked American on the WTA Insider Clay Court Power Rankings; but she is not alone.
Winning her first WTA title at Bogota, Amanda Anisimova has also earned herself a spot on the list of serious contenders for the French Open crown. The 17-year-old won the Claro Open Colsanitas championship, coming from a set and a break down to lift the trophy.
She began this season by reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open. In addition to improving physically, Anisimova says her composure has been a big part of her recent success.
Another American to watch is Sloane Stephens. As the 2018 Roland Garros finalist and the 2016 Charleston Champion, she sits at No. 7 on the WTA Insider Clay Court Power Rankings.
American women should do well on the red clay of Roland Garros, this year, and we are all watching to see which one would be the frontrunner.
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