Winner to pick up tab as Keys admits final nerves

American Madison Keys struggled in her first Grand Slam final, managing just three aces and 30 unforced errors.
American Madison Keys struggled in her first Grand Slam final, managing just three aces and 30 unforced errors.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Madison Keys surveyed the wreckage of her US Open rout at the hands of close friend Sloane Stephens and told the new champion to foot the bar bill when the championship party starts.

Keys, the 15th seed, was trounced 6-3, 6-0 by Stephens in a one-sided final that lasted just over an hour. But Keys fully expected her pal to make up for the pain she caused.

"Of course I will go to the celebration, I would 100 per cent go. She can buy me drinks, all of the drinks," said Keys.

Stephens would have no problem in funding the party after her win on Saturday earned her a US$3.7 million (S$4.9 million) pay cheque.

The 22-year-old Keys had undergone a second left wrist surgery after the French Open before winning the Stanford Classic in July. But her problems on Saturday were more mind than body.

"I definitely think my play today came down to nerves and I don't think I handled the occasion perfectly," said Keys, who was playing in her first Grand Slam final.

"I was obviously nervous all morning. I didn't totally know what to do once I got on the court, which just intensifies those nerves. So I was definitely not feeling 100 per cent good on the court at any point."

The brutal statistics illustrate her lack of cutting edge in the final. Keys, the youngest US Open finalist since 19-year-old Caroline Wozniacki lost to Kim Clijsters in 2009, went into the match having fired 34 aces in the tournament. But she managed just three in the final.

Keys also committed 30 unforced errors to Stephens' six.

"I didn't play my best tennis today," admitted Keys. "But if you told me as I was getting on a plane to have my second surgery that I could have a Grand Slam finalist trophy in my hands at the end of the year, I think I'd be really happy."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2017, with the headline 'Winner to pick up tab as Keys admits final nerves'. Print Edition | Subscribe