Madison Keys’ 2015 season was rather inconsistent; she gave a very promising semi-final showing at the Australian Open, but from then on, her year was somewhat of a let-down. Injuries hampered her performance at many tournaments and she failed to win a title for the year. Although her season was perhaps not as impressive as 2014 for her, there were still some high points including good results at Wimbledon and her home slam, the US Open, as well as a finals appearance in Charleston.
Keys won 31 matches this year and lost 18 which gives her a 63.27% win record; a fair reflection of her season. Some of the losses were upsets or due to being hampered by injury; however, in a few tournaments, she went deep to build up those 31 match wins.
The clear high point of the season for Keys came right at the beginning when she reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open by defeating Petra Kvitova in straights as well as Venus Williams in three tight sets along the way. She fell to world number one and eventual champion Serena Williams, but received high praise from her fellow American with Williams remarking, “It was an honour for me to play someone who will be No. 1 in the future.”
Keys predominantly peaked at the Grand Slams this year, reaching the quarter-finals of Wimbledon where she lost out on another semi-final showing at a major to Agnieszka Radwanska. She also reached the fourth round of the US Open where she avenged her Wimbledon loss to Radwanska, before being defeated again by Serena Williams in the round of 16.
Most low points suffered by Keys were in the lower level tournaments, and often due to injuries sustained throughout the year. Keys is no stranger to injuries, having leg problems in 2014 that forced her to retire mid-match at Wimbledon. Her main agony this season was a wrist injury she sustained in a practice session that forced her to withdraw from the Coupe Banque Nationale tournament in September. This possibly affected her performance when she returned for the remaining tournaments of the year, as she retired at the China Open in Beijing.
Clearly her Grand Slam results were very good for her season overall; however there were some lower-tier tournaments that boosted her win-loss record. For example, Keys made the final in the Family Circle Cup clay tournament in Charleston by defeating all her four en-route opponents in straight sets, only dropping 14 games. She was defeated by German Angelique Kerber in the final but managed to push it to three sets and make it a very close match. This result saw Keys win $66,000 and also add 305 additional ranking points to her overall count.
Keys’ year was largely defined by the huge difference in performance level across the year – success was followed by a dramatic decline soon after. One of these dips was the Indian Wells and Miami double, where she won just one match on home soil. Another disappointment came at Eastbourne, the tournament where she won her first and only WTA title in 2014; Keys went down to fellow young star Belinda Bencic in straight sets in her first match.
However, the worst results were seen at the end of the year for Keys, as she put in disappointing performance in both Wuhan and Beijing. She qualified for the WTA Elite Trophy tournament in Zhuhai but won just one match before falling to compatriot Venus Williams, a loss that surely stung as she had managed to defeat Williams at the Grand Slam level at the beginning of the season.
Having had stellar results by her young standards at three of the four Grand Slams this year, Keys’ grade is boosted. Despite this, her poor results and lack of consistency across nearly all other tournaments of the year prevents her from achieving higher – something to remedy for future seasons.