I learned a lot about Madison Keys on day 10 of the 2015 Australian Open. I’ve known she’s bursting with talent for a few years now. But what about when she had an injury plus a dangerous opponent in front of her? Would she be able to gut it out? The answer is an emphatic yes! Understand me, if she is injured to the point she has to retire, as she was at Wimbledon 2014 in the third round against Yaroslava Shvedova, there’s nothing to be done about that. But against Venus Williams, in Madison’s first ever Major quarterfinal, that same leg injury (left adductor) flared up again. It wasn’t as bad physically as at Wimbledon, but the mental challenge was even greater. Suddenly, after out-hitting Venus and winning the first set 6-3, Keys fell behind two breaks at 1-4 and had to leave the court to get her leg wrapped. She admitted afterwards it was like the nightmare coming back. It looked like the beginning of the end for Madison down under. But she returned to the court, erased both breaks and tied it up at 4-4. However, she was clearly bothered by the injury, trying to shorten points with big shots. Sometimes they went in. Sometimes they didn’t. It became a little sloppy on both sides of the net. Venus tried to move Madison around, but the teenager didn’t cave, even when she lost the second set and twice fell behind a break in the third. This is where Madison showed why so many tennis aficionados are proclaiming her the next big star in American tennis and one of the next big stars overall, along with players like Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Romania’s Simona Halep. Keys broke Venus twice to get back on serve, and then a third time at love to win the match, 6-3 4-6 6-4. Against one of the biggest hitters in tennis history, Keys hit 34 winners to Venus’ 10. It only gets tougher from here as Madison goes from one Williams sister to the other. Serena walked through Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-2. It really wasn’t even that close. I am pulling for Keys, but I’d be lying if I said she was a favorite to upset Serena, especially with a wrapped left adductor and having to come back with no day off. But if Madison is healthy enough in the semifinals, she has the serve and big ground strokes to make a better fight of it than Domi. However, Madison’s health status is a very big if.
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE
MADISON KEYS (won 6-3 4-6 6-4 vs 18 Venus Williams)
1 SERENA WILLIAMS (won 6-2 6-2 vs 11 Dominika Cibulkova)