The second leg of quarterfinal action at the US Open saw 14th seed and American number two, Madison Keys, take on the 30th seed Carla Suárez Navarro, in what was their fourth meeting overall, their first since the Rio Olympics in 2016. The opening match of the evening session on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Suárez Navarro, playing her seventh Grand Slam quarterfinal and looking to break through to the last four for the first time in her career, was soundly seen off by the powerful American in straight sets.
Keys secures decisive break of serve to take the first set
Keys kicked off the match with a hold of serve and soon had her sights on her first break opportunity in the following game but could not convert with Suárez Navarro going on to hold serve. The next two games went by routinely until fifth game, the longest game of the match, where the Spaniard had a chance to break Keys’ serve before the American drew an error from her racket en route to a hold of serve.
The decisive moment of the set came in the 10th game, with Keys up 5-4 and Suárez Navarro serving to stay in the set. A forehand unforced error by the Spaniard brought up the first set point for the American but Suárez Navarro staved it off with a forehand winner of her’s. After failing to convert game point herself, Suárez Navarro was drawn into a backhand error by her opponent, thus facing another set point. The Spaniard was not so lucky this time around as a Keys forehand winner sealed the set in her favour, after 45 minutes of play.
Keys marches on to victory
The first five games of the second set saw both women hold serve without facing any break points, the opening game of the set on Keys’ serve being the sole game going to deuce. Keys then caught fire in the sixth game, sculpting two break points and successfully converted the second one to move up a break 4-2.
Keys would go on to hold serve to 15 next, thus finding herself one game away from the last four. Another hold of serve to 15, from her Spanish opponent this time, meant that the American would now have to serve out the win. Keys carved out her first match point with an ace but a double fault ensued before Suárez Navarro gave one last push by forcing an error from the American’s racket. Down a break point, a couple of winners to bring up second match point saved Keys from further trouble as she successfully converted it this time to secure the win over the Spaniard veteran in one hour and 23 minutes.
It was Keys’ first straight-set win over Suárez Navarro, thus extending her perfect record over Spaniard to 4-0. Keys powerful game ensured her the win, delivering six aces to her opponent’s zero. Despite 32 unforced errors from Keys, contrasted with Suárez Navarro’s 18, she made 22 winners throughout the match, more than double the amount of Suárez Navarro, who managed just 10.
The first serve was a key for Keys. Although both players were successful on first serve points, Keys and Suárez Navarro winning 80 percent and 74 percent of such points respectively, the American recorded a greater percentage of first serves, 64 percent against her opponent’s 47 percent.
In her second consecutive semifinal at the US Open, Keys goes up the Japanese youngster, 20th-seeded Naomi Osaka. It will be the fourth clash between the pair with Keys looking to solidify her spotless record over Osaka, who is in her maiden Grand Slam semifinal appearance. The pair have also met at the US Open before, in the third round back in 2016, with the American prevailing in a deciding tiebreak.