CINCINNATI • Soon after the two unexpected champions embraced their first Cincinnati Masters trophies, attention turned to how their form might transfer to the bigger stage at the US Open next week.
With the titles under their belts, Russia's Daniil Medvedev and American Madison Keys are beginning to show they are capable of carrying their newfound momentum into a Grand Slam.
Medvedev followed up his semi-final upset of defending champion Novak Djokovic by subduing David Goffin 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 on Sunday to win a ATP Tour-leading 31st hard-court match.
It was the ninth seed's first Masters 1000 trophy after settling for runner-up finishes in consecutive weeks to Nick Kyrgios in Washington and Rafael Nadal in Montreal. And he rose three spots in the world rankings to fifth.
"These have been the best three weeks of my life," Medvedev said after surviving his 16th match in 20 days, cramps and then cracking his racket in a tantrum.
"My mentality was the best, my serve was the best, my tennis has been really consistent.
"I didn't have one bad match, I hope to continue this way for next few weeks."
He plans to have a short break first, adding: "I just need to stay in the bed for a few days watching the TV 24 hours a day."
Belgian Goffin tipped Medvedev, who at 23 is the youngest Cincinnati champion since 21-year-old Andy Murray in 2008, to contend at Flushing Meadows.
He told the Russian: "Once again, an unbelievable week for you, fantastic. I think you are ready for New York."
In the women's final, local favourite Keys rallied late from being broken early and 5-3 down in both sets to overcome Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) for her second title of the year.
She failed to make it past the second round in her last three events including Wimbledon, but will enter her favourite Slam on the back of the biggest win of her career.
She has been one of the most consistent players at recent US Opens, reaching the final two years ago and the semi-finals last year.
"It's definitely a great building block," said the 24-year-old, who hit 43 winners to the veteran Kuznetsova's 13, yet kept her explosive power relatively harnessed.
"I want to do well in New York and have a good end to the season."
While receiving the trophy, she told the crowd: "If you told me this is where I would be a week ago, I would have laughed in your face."
And yet there she was, climbing eight rungs to world No. 10 and on an unexpected upswing heading to New York.
ASSOCIATED PRESS, NYTIMES