What a comeback it has been for Madison Keys. Just nine months ago, her wrist was kept in a cast and she could not even use her left wrist for normal daily activities. Currently, she ends the year inside the world’s top 20 having won just the third title of her career and reaching her first ever Grand Slam final. It has been an incredible journey for the American, who was plagued by injuries but yet still claimed some impressive results.
Although she was able to claim excellent results, Keys has been disappointing in the other events as she owns a lackluster 17-10 win-loss record throughout 2017. The American fell in the opening rounds on four different occasions this year, while nine of her 10 losses came against players of a lower ranking as compared to her. Nonetheless, she still claimed two top-10 wins along the way.
Keys only returned to the tour in March just in time for the BNP Paribas Open due to a surgery on her left wrist. However, she had a decent Indian Wells campaign to start off her year, defeating Mariana Duque-Marino and Naomi Osaka in straight sets for a fourth-round appearance.
Her next good showing came much later in July when she unexpectedly stormed to clinch the title in Stanford. Being the third seed at the Bank of the West Classic, Keys defeated top seed Garbine Muguruza, who was riding on a nine-match winning streak having just won the Wimbledon Championships, before ousting compatriot and good friend Coco Vandeweghe in the final.
Keys’ good run extended into the Western and Southern Open, outclassing Vandeweghe once more before thrashing Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1 in just 50 minutes. She looked on course for yet another win over Muguruza but completely crumbled after having three match points, losing to the eventual champion in a final-set tiebreak.
Arguably, the 2017 US Open was Keys’ best tournament in her career thus far. She perfectly showed everyone her ability to play some consistent tennis, and she maintained her high quality of play throughout the fortnight. She was handed a tricky draw but still got past the dangerous Elise Mertens in the opening round before recovering from a set down to beat 17th seed Elena Vesnina.
Keys then outhit fourth seed Elina Svitolina in the fourth round, before ousting surprise quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi and tramping over Coco Vandeweghe for the third time this summer. This series of impressive victories allowed the American to reach her first ever Major final, with the golden opportunity to clinch her maiden Grand Slam title waiting for her to grab. However, nerves played a huge part in the Championship match and caused her to eventually fall in straight sets.
The clay court season was definitely a poor one for Keys, having amassed a 1-4 win-loss record during this period of time. Her wrist injury was a major factor, though, as it greatly affected her in her opening match at the Volvo Car Open, falling to Shelby Rogers 6-4, 1-6, 1-6. Despite taking a one-month break, Keys lost in the first rounds of both the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL D’Italia to Misaki Doi and Daria Gavrilova respectively.
Keys also exited early at the Wimbledon Championships, losing to world number 86 Camila Giorgi in the second round. However, it was a bittersweet experience at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for the American as she was finally able to complete a match being pain-free.
Unexpectedly, Keys was once again bothered by her wrist as it started to provide her with discomfort and pain during matches, which hindered her playing her best tennis against Varvara Lepchenko in Wuhan. This recurring wrist injury was also the main reason why Keys ended her season relatively early.
Season Grade: B-
Madison Keys has had her ups and downs throughout 2017, with her injuries preventing her from returning to the top. However, she has proven everyone wrong when she reached her first Major title and claimed her first title in a year, but the left wrist continues to obstruct her from achieving more this year.