For the second time in three weeks, Garbiñe Muguruza and Madison Keys met on the US hard courts. Keys defeated Muguruza in the Stanford semifinal for a third consecutive win over the Spaniard. For the first time ever, they were meeting before a semifinal as they met in the third round in Cincinnati.
It was the Spaniard who went on to win her first match ever against the American and will face Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals.
Muguruza Takes Tight Opener
The American opened up the proceedings with a hold to 30 and then broke the Spaniard after a couple of fantastic returns, finishing off the game with a forehand return winner. Despite the strong early hitting, Keys mishit a second serve to give the break back to the Spaniard.
A third break of serve in the first four games was scene as Muguruza dumped a forehand into the net at 30-40. Another sloppy service game ensued as Keys was caught off balance, hitting a forehand into the net to get it back on serve in this opening set.
A forehand pass from the Spaniard at 40-15 saw the first service hold since the opening game of the match. During the changeover, Muguruza was getting looked at off-court for her lower back. Despite the long break, the Spaniard held for four-all.
The following game saw the two ladies battle as Muguruza staved off a couple of chances for Keys to go up 5-4. The Wimbledon champion had her own chance to take the lead, but Keys hit a brilliant forehand winner down the line to get it back to deuce. A wide forehand from Keys gave the Spaniard the chance to serve for the opening set. Muguruza went on to take the first set 6-4.
Keys Takes It The Distance
The second set started with a couple of holds before Keys ran into trouble in her second service game. The American faced three break points in a 17-point service game but held off the Wimbledon champion to keep it on serve at 2-1.
The ladies remained on serve until the eighth game when Muguruza faced break point. The Spaniard double faulted badly, to concede the break to the American which gave her a 5-3 lead. A strong service game from Keys forced a deciding set.
After the set, Keys called the trainer out to look at her left arm.
Both women were strong on serve to start the opening set. Neither woman faced a break point in these service games as each knew that one break could decide the match that was very tight. At two-all in the final set, rain started to pour down in Cincinnati as the players walked off court. The delay was over nearly two hours long as torrential rains, thunderstorms, and lightning all passed through the area.
The ladies came back out on to court at 2-2, 15-0 with Muguruza serving. The Spaniard dumped a forehand into the net at 30-30 to give the American break chance. Another wild forehand gave Keys the break as her coach Lindsay Davenport looked eager to see Keys start strongly after the long delay.
Another errant forehand from the Spaniard in the Keys service game consolidated the break for the American, giving her a 4-2 lead. Muguruza was able to hold in her second service game after the rain. She would get the break back after the 22-year-old American dumped a backhand into the net.
The two had some long rallies throughout the ninth game with the 23-year-old Spaniard serving. The two traded punishing groundstrokes in many of these rallies, but it was the Spaniard who came out on top to force Keys to serve to stay in the match. The American was up to the task, holding at love.
Keys found herself with an opening after two straight winners to set up double break point. An errant forehand from Muguruza gave Keys the break and a chance to serve out for the match. The American was unable to hold, as a tiebreak was needed to decide the match.
The first mini-break of the tiebreak went to Muguruza, but Keys was able to get on the board after a net cord went her way. The 22-year-old was able to get the mini-break back, down 2-3, after the Spaniard hit a backhand into the net.
Keys missed an easy forehand down the line, putting her down 2-4, but the crowd was still behind the American trying to push her through. Muguruza had triple match point going up 6-3 in the breaker. The Spaniard closed it out thanks to another error from the American