US Open: Madison Keys storms into third Major quarterfinal of 2018

US Open: Madison Keys storms into third Major quarterfinal of 2018

Madison Keys put in an efficient performance to defeat Dominika Cibulkova in the fourth round of the US Open, extending her head-to-head record lead to 5-0.

don-han
Don Han

Madison Keys seemed unstoppable today, blowing 29th seed Dominika Cibulkova off the court within just an hour and 15-minutes of action. The 14th seed Keys will now face either 30th seed Carla Suarez Navarro or five-time Major champion Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals. The home favourite is tipped to replicate her run from last year, and the American has a decent chance to accomplish the task now.

The American, who reached the final here at the US Open last year, continues to find her best tennis at the biggest stages of the sport, reaching her third Major quarterfinal of the year in New York. Surprisingly, and ironically, her best result at Majors this year was a semifinal finish at Roland Garros while her earliest exit came at Wimbledon in the third round.​

Madison Keys will be proud of her near-flawless display today | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America
Madison Keys will be proud of her near-flawless display today | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America

Keys, firing on all cylinders, fired 25 winners in her quick win over Cibulkova. Although it came alongside 15 unforced errors, it was enough to overcome the less-powerful Slovakian, who managed to find just seven winners but yet committed 20 errors. The American fired down six aces and claimed 83 percent of her first-serve points while Cibulkova failed to defend half of the points played behind her first serves.

Keys stroll to the win

Everything started to click for Keys in the early stages, just before Cibulkova could even warm up to the occasion — and this was the first time she has played in Arthur Ashe this year. The American started the match with a solid service hold before converting on her sixth break point to earn the early lead after a marathon 14-minute return game. Looking unstoppable, the 14th seed consolidated the break in some style for a commanding 3-0 lead.

Madison Keys served impressively to seal her quarterfinal spot | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America
Madison Keys served impressively to seal her quarterfinal spot | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America

Although Cibulkova managed to get onto the scoreboard, Keys rattled off 12 of the last 14 points to take the opening set 6-1 within a blink of an eye, losing just four points on her serve throughout the set. Keys rode on her momentum and strolled through the early stages of the second set yet again — finding winners from every corner of the court while Cibulkova struggled to deal with Keys’ kick serves and power from the baseline.

The aggression from Keys suffered a slight wobble for the first time in the midst of the second set, and she started to completely lose the plot and produced an abundance of unforced errors. She was broken for the first time before conceding three consecutive games to gift Cibulkova with her first lead of the day.

Dominika Cibulkova was unable to play aggressively today | Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images North America
Dominika Cibulkova was unable to play aggressively today | Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

However, once Keys managed to regain the rhythm in her game, Cibulkova could do nothing to prevent the massacre. Keys clinched 12 consecutive games and stormed to a formidable 5-3 lead, and all of a sudden, she found herself just one game away from the win. The Slovakian had to serve to stay in the match, but her vulnerable serves were brutally punished by the powerful American as she ultimately fell after just 77 minutes of play.

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