WTA Indian Wells: Madison Keys excels in her first match back from injury
Madison Keys seals her first victory of the year | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

WTA Indian Wells: Madison Keys excels in her first match back from injury

Madison Keys produced an encouraging performance in her first match of 2017 as she defeated Mariana Duque-Marino in straight sets in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open.

don-han
Don Han

The second round of the BNP Paribas Open saw Madison Keys suffer a huge scare against Mariana Duque-Marino in her first match of 2017 as she was forced to close out the match in the last moments after losing a huge lead in the second set. The American looked shaky in the opening stages but looked to be at her best when she strolled to win the first set.

Keys strolls to the first set victory

Unforced errors almost cost Keys early on as she went down 0-30 in her opening service game, but she managed to overcome her rustiness to prevail in the nervy game and narrowly held her serve to start the match with. There were signs that Keys was playing her best tennis as she came up with numerous strong returns to get a service break to love, taking the early advantage after the nervy start.

Madison Keys looked a little shaky on her serve in the opening game | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Madison Keys looked a little shaky on her serve in the opening game | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

It seemed as though Keys was struggling in her service games as some great defense from Duque-Marino allowed her to come from 40-0 down and return to deuce before earning two break point opportunities to have the golden opportunity to return level on serve. However, the American came up with her powerful serves to escape from the brink and consolidate the break of serve, extending her lead to three games. The powerful hitter originally had a break point for a double break lead, but she threw the opportunity away with a big forehand sent into the net, allowing Duque-Marino to take the chance and lessen the deficit by holding her serve.

After another comfortable service hold, Keys continued her excellent run as she came up with her best tennis to break down the Colombian’s serve for the second time in the set, taking a double break advantage and earned a 5-1 lead, placing herself just a game away from victory. The forehand of the American seemed to be unable to go against as it helped her to take the one-sided first set 6-1 after just 29 minutes, having the best possible start to her return from an injury.

Madison Keys' forehand was working really well today | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Madison Keys' forehand was working really well today | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Keys fends off inspired comeback

The start of the second set was much of a similar story to the first as Keys broke serve in the opening game of the set to take the early advantage and looked poised for a routine victory. Keys extended her lead when she held her serve in a close game before breaking to love in the third game, earning a double break lead and seemed to be cruising to the victory.

Nothing was able to go against the powerful game of Keys as she managed to consolidate the break with a comfortable service hold to extend her lead to four games, with Duque-Marino looking out of sorts. Having two break points for a 5-0 lead and a chance to serve out the match, Keys failed to convert them and allowed the Colombian to get onto the scoreboard in the second set and gain some momentum.

Mariana Duque-Marino fought all the way to the end | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
Mariana Duque-Marino fought all the way to the end | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

Fending off a break point in the process, Keys finally won her fifth game of the second set as she survived a tense service game to be just a game away from victory and was expected to close the match out soon. However, this was when Duque-Marino started to mount an improbable comeback as she saved three match points in the seventh game of the set to barely hold her serve and stayed in the match for at least one more game. In fact, this game gave her the confidence and momentum needed as the Colombian stormed to get one of the breaks back after Keys played a very sloppy game, and seemed to shift her focus to somewhere else.

The run of Duque-Marino continued in the next game as she fended off yet another two match points before holding serve, lessening the deficit to just one game all of a sudden despite looking down-and-out just moments ago. Keys had the second chance to serve out the match but was unable to win the crucial points as Duque-Marino was halfway to completing the comeback and send the match into a deciding set, saving her seventh match point along the way. The Colombian eventually ran out of steam and lost the last two games of the match, but after all, it was an effort worth applauding for as she managed to come from 1-6, 1-5 15-40 down only to fall 1-6, 5-7 in the end.

Madison Keys celebrates her win | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Madison Keys celebrates her win | Photo: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
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