Watch Out for Madison Keys at the US Open

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All the attention and focus will be on Serena Williams and her quest for the calendar Slam at the US Open next week, but there’s another American lady who hopes she can spoil the party with a Grand Slam win of her own. 20-year-old Madison Keys is the future of American women’s tennis and has shown this year she is ready to challenge for Grand Slam titles.

Watch Out for Madison Keys at the US Open

Keys jumped onto everyone’s radar last year with her surprise win on the grass in Eastbourne. Along the way to her first career WTA title she defeated the likes of former world #1 Jelena Jankovic and Angelique Kerber.

Fast forward to this year and Keys has already made many strides in her game. Keys plays a power game similar to that of other power hitters on tour like Petra Kvitova and Serena Williams. In her short time on tour she has managed to develop her power hitting into a great weapon which was displayed earlier this year at the Australian Open.

In her third round match in Melbourne Keys played Petra Kvitova. Kvitova was the heavy favourite in the match, but Keys absolutely dismantled and overpowered her. Kvitova, one of the biggest hitters on tour, was beaten at her own game as Keys won in straight sets.

Keys’ surprise win made heads turn and the attention began to grow around her. In the quarterfinals she played Venus Williams. This match was highly anticipated for two reasons. One being Williams was in good form. She won in Auckland a few weeks earlier defeating Caroline Wozniacki in the finals. The second reason is she was one win away from playing her sister Serena which is a match up almost every tennis fan loves to see.

Unfortunately for Venus, Keys was up to the challenge. Keys battled through the three set match blasting 34 winners past Williams to book her spot in the semifinals.

Keys played Serena Williams in the semifinals, but there was just nothing left in her tank to put up a real challenge. Nevertheless, in Keys’ two weeks down under she showed she can compete and win against the top players in women’s tennis.

After the Australian Open Keys’ play was up and down until Wimbledon. She reached the finals in Charleston, but everywhere else she never managed to win more than two matches in any tournament she played. At Wimbledon she found her game again.

Keys reached the quarterfinals on the grass in Wimbledon. After her win last year in Eastbourne on the grass it wasn’t that surprising she managed to go on a run at Wimbledon. What was surprising was how she did it. Keys hit an astounding 205 winners in her five matches at Wimbledon. To put that in perspective it took the eventual champion, Serena Williams, six matches to hit the same amount of winners as Keys.

Like she overpowered her opponents in Australia she did it again at Wimbledon. The one flaw with this aggressive style of play is that along with the high amount of winners, you have the risk of hitting a high amount of unforced errors. Keys lost her quarterfinal match against Agnieszka Radwanska not because she was outplayed, but because of the number of unforced errors she hit. Keys hit 48 winners in the match, but she also had 40 unforced errors. Radwanska on the other hand had 13 winners and only 7 unforced errors. Keys dominated Radwanska, but the errors cost her the match.

Since Wimbledon, though, she has struggled. You would think her game would thrive on the fast paced hard courts of the U.S. Open Series, but that hasn’t been the case. She has won only three times since Wimbledon. Really though this is not that concerning. Before her Australian Open run she lost in the second round in Sydney and then before Wimbledon she lost in her first match in Eastbourne. So prior results have no connection to her grand slam performance.

Keys ups her game when it matters most as results have shown this year. Her power hitting style will challenge women’s tennis’ top players on the hard courts in New York starting next week.

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