Keys unlocks first quarter-final spot

Madison Keys of the United States whips a forehand during her 7-6 (7-2), 1-6, 6-4 win against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the fourth round. There are four American women in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2002.
Madison Keys of the United States whips a forehand during her 7-6 (7-2), 1-6, 6-4 win against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the fourth round. There are four American women in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2002.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Madison Keys took advantage of Elina Svitolina's nerves to reach the US Open quarter-finals for the first time with a 7-6 (7-2), 1-6, 6-4 win on Monday, meaning four American women are still in contention - a first since 2002.

The 15th-seeded Keys was down a break in the decider against the Ukrainian fourth seed when Svitolina lost her composure and allowed the Florida-based player to come back under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"It's gone pretty well so far, don't you think," she said on court. "It's partially thanks to you guys, you helped me when I got down in the third set. You gave me an amazing energy boost."

The last time at least four American women were in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows was in 2002, with Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport, Serena and Venus Williams and Monica Seles winning their fourth-round matches.

Jennifer Brady could have been the fifth this year but she was destroyed 6-1, 6-0 by world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova earlier on Monday.

Keys joined Coco Vandeweghe - who will meet Pliskova in the last eight - Sloane Stephens and Venus.

"I think it's great," Vandeweghe said of the achievement, "in our American Grand Slam".

  • SELECTED RESULTS

  • Men's 4th rd

    Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt Aleksandr Dolgopolov (Ukr) 6-2 6-4 6-1, Andrey Rublev (Rus) bt David Goffin (Bel) 7-5 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, Roger Federer (Sui) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) 6-4 6-2 7-5, Juan Martin del Potro (Arg) bt Dominic Thiem (Aut) 1-6 2-6 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

    Women 4th rd

    Karolina Pliskova (Cze) bt Jennifer Brady (USA) 6-1 6-0, Coco Vandeweghe (USA) bt Lucie Safarova (Cze) 6-4 7-6 (7-2), Madison Keys (USA) bt Elina Svitolina (Ukr) 7-6 (7-2) 1-6 6-4, Kaia Kanepi (Est) bt Darya Kasatkina (Rus) 6-4 6-4.

    AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The 25-year-old Californian from a fearsome, basketball-rich sports family has assembled an outstanding Grand Slam season: an Australian Open semi-final, a Wimbledon quarter-final and this.

With full-on confidence, a No. 22 ranking and "a little bit more variety", as she put it, she heads into a bout with Pliskova.

"If you are so in awe of someone being No. 1 in the world," Vandeweghe said, "then I don't think you're going into a match all focused and all there."

The upheaval in the bottom half of the men's singles draw sees one among four unheralded players - Sam Querrey, Kevin Anderson, Pablo Carreno Busta and Diego Schwartzman - guaranteed to contest the final on Sunday.

Of the four, only Querrey has reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam before, when he defeated a hobbling Andy Murray over four sets in the last eight at Wimbledon.

Expect a high number of aces in the quarter-final between Querrey and Anderson, who are 1.98m and 2.03m respectively. It will be a stark contrast to the encounter between Carreno Busta, who is not the most powerful of players, and Schwartzman, the 25-year-old Argentinian who is 1.70m.

"The big guys have a little bit of an advantage because they can serve better, they can do a lot of things better," Schwartzman said. "If you are small, you need to be focused on many things. It is not easy, but I am here. I am enjoying it."

REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2017, with the headline 'Keys unlocks first quarter-final spot'. Print Edition | Subscribe