Madison Keys recorded an impressive straight sets win over Barbora Strycova to reach the third round in Madrid.
Keys battles through early struggles to win first set
The American recently announced a new partnership with coach Thomas Hogstedt and her first venture was a success, beating fellow American Alison Riske. Her start here was a bit shaky as Strycova, coming off of a fine first round win over reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, broke on her second chance of the match to grab the early upper hand 2-1. Undaunted, Keys broke right back.
Both players then held fairly routinely until the Czech's serve was pierced again, this one beating the fatal blow of the set, Keys now up 5-3. Her power and serve are the strengths of her game, but Strycova battled Keys as she tried to close out the set, even setting up a break point, Keys swatting it away winning three straight points to close out the set 6-3.
Keys Loses Early Set Lead But Reclaims It To Win
Now with momentum after winning the final three games of the first set, the American quickly struck to start the second, breaking Strycova's serve straightaway while holding her own delivery to extend her streak of games won to five, losing only nine points during that span. Keys can still be a bit up-and-down during matches and that showed again as Strycova shook off her bad patch to hold easily and capitalize on her second chance of Keys' second serve game to level the set at two.
After holds were exchanged, Keys capitalized on her second chance of Strycova's service game to nail down what was the decisive break, taking the lead for good at 4-3. After an easy hold, Keys won a protracted final game lasting 11 points to climax her impressive win and send her into the third round.
Keys solid on serve, efficient on break chances, faces Tig next
As noted above, Keys has a very powerful serve and aside from the two breaks she surrendered, Strycova never reached deuce on any of the American's other six service games, only managing to win a paltry eight points. By comparison, Keys was strong on break opportunities, converting five of her eight chances.
Not known as a great returner, she won 45 percent of first serve return points while also succeeding on an excellent 62 percent of second serve points. That 62 percent number was also what she won on her own serve for the entire match. Next up for the American is Romanian qualifier Patricia Maria Tig, who upset Keys' fellow American Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-3.