WTA Cincinnati: Madison Keys rallies to shock Angelique Kerber

Keys had beaten Kerber just once in eight previous meetings and started the match poorly, though came from a set and a break down to defeat the Wimbledon champion and reach the last eight.

WTA Cincinnati: Madison Keys rallies to shock Angelique Kerber
Madison Keys came from a set and a break down to knock out Kerber (Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA)
Madison Keys
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Angelique Kerber

Madison Keys picked up a huge win at the Western and Southern Open on Thursday, with the 13th seed coming from a set and a break down to knock out fourth seed and recently-crowned Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber in the third round.

Keys has struggled in recent weeks, with early losses at both Wimbledon and the Rogers Cup last week, as well as withdrawing from the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose. Furthermore, history was not on her side coming into this match, with Kerber having won seven of the eight meetings between the two: the American’s sole win was at Eastbourne in 2014.

At one stage, it seemed as this would be another simple win for Kerber, who also lost early on in Montreal, as she lead by a set and a break, though as she got tight, Keys grew in confidence and eventually prevailed in Cincinnati, claiming a 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 win in just shy of two hours.

Keys rallies to shock Kerber and reach last eight

When the two met earlier this year at the Australian Open, Kerber took just 50 minutes to seal a comprehensive victory, though, even though it looked it could be the case, she was unable to repeat that today.

The German was in control of the first set early on, breaking in the third game, and a second break saw her take a comfortable 4-1 lead within 13 minutes. Keys did begin to look slightly more comfortable in the latter stages of the opener, though could do little to top the fourth seed claiming it with ease in less than half an hour.

Keys came through in the second set tiebreak (Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA)
Keys came through in the second set tiebreak (Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA)
 

The start of the second set was tighter, with both missing break point chances, though it seemed that Kerber would claim victory as she broke for 3-2. However, Keys was able to break back straight away and began to take charge of proceedings; the American missed two set point chances as her opponent served to stay in the set at 5-6, though came from 1-3 down in the break to force a decider.

With Keys now firing confidently, the final set proved to be a tense affair, with Kerber now looking more solid after a shaky set. Neither women cracked throughout the first eight games, though as she returned at 4-4, the American ramped up the pressure, and some staggering forehands saw her break. She had little difficulty serving it out, claiming a victory that will undoubtedly serve her the world of good as she looks to defend final points at the US Open.

Kerber's counterpunching has troubled Keys in the past and for most of the day but she could not hang in the end (Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA)
Kerber's counterpunching has troubled Keys in the past and for most of the day but she could not hang in the end (Noel Alberto/VAVEL USA)

Though she got off to a shaky start, it was eventually a very solid performance from the American number two, who hit 44 unforced errors but an impressive 55 winners to secure just her second victory over one of the best defenders on tour. Keys is now in the last eight in Cincinnati for the first time, where she will face Aryna Sabalenka.