Madison Keys put up a pitch-perfect performance in the semifinals of the US Open as she defeated good friend and compatriot Coco Vandeweghe for the third time in as many meetings, with “three” being a lucky number for Keys as she totally blew Vandeweghe off the court today, losing just three games in the match which lasted for just a little over an hour.
Coming into the match
Keys came into the match as the huge favorite considering her recent form and her head-to-head record against Vandeweghe. The compatriots have met twice during the summer alone, with the 22-year-old triumphing on both occasions, which included the Stanford final and a blockbuster first-round encounter at the Western and Southern Open.
High on confidence, Vandeweghe entered the semifinals with wins over current world number one Karolina Pliskova and Agnieszka Radwanska while Keys had a straightforward victory over qualifier Kaia Kanepi having sent Elina Svitolina out of the tournament days ago.
Keys steamrolls Vandeweghe and strolls to clinch the first set
It was the perfect start possible to the match for Madison Keys as she earned a comfortable love service hold in the opening game, looking very solid in the early stages. Keys was absolutely firing on all cylinders after coming up with some incredible returns and just using her powerful groundstrokes to dictate play and move Vandeweghe all around the court.
Going big on the returns certainly proved effective as Keys drew the first blood and made the first breakthrough in the second game, capitalizing on her first break point. Another love service hold followed as Vandeweghe had no replies on Keys’ powerful and consistent serving, allowing the 22-year-old to consolidate the break easily and powering herself to a 3-0 lead.
Vandeweghe certainly did not look at her best, and she was just a shadow of her previous performances today as the 2017 Australian Open semi-finalist was unable to find the rhythm in her game and also failed to gain any momentum. After losing eight of the next 10 points, Vandeweghe found herself serving to stay in the set at 0-5 down after just a mere 15 minutes of play, looking to spare herself from a bagel.
Despite a couple of errors, she was able to narrowly hold her serve having saved a set point in the process, forcing Keys to serve out the set. Without any pressure, Keys overcame her nerves and comfortably held her serve to clinch the first set 6-1 after just 23 minutes of play, steamrolling through this semi-final encounter.
Vandeweghe puts up tougher fight but fails to match up against an inspired Keys
Moving up to the net more often to kill off the points there, Vandeweghe changed her tactics for the second set as she looked to produce an incredible comeback, similar to Venus Williams’ second set blowout of Sloane Stephens in the first semi-final of the night after losing the first set 1-6. Nonetheless, Keys continued to play her A-game as she held her serve to love in the following game, throwing in two aces in the process.
The two longest games of the match next came our way with Vandeweghe first throwing away a couple of game points to gift Keys with the lead of a set and a break, digging herself a bigger deficit with all her unforced errors at the crucial moments. Keys next earned a tight service hold in which Vandeweghe managed to get to deuce twice, but was unable to earn a break point as the 15th seed held on to consolidate the break.
Earning yet another break in the fifth game, Keys unexpectedly called for the trainer and eventually went off-court for treatment on her right thigh which lasted around five minutes.
Despite her level of play visibly dropping once she returned, Keys remained aggressive and continued to control all the rallies, leaving Vandeweghe very frustrated. The 20th seed kept herself in the match with a relatively easy service hold, but it proved to be just a consolation game as Keys eventually closed out the match with an ace down-the-tee, clinching the impressive win after an hour and six minutes having lost just a mere three games.
Stats Corner: Totally dominant play from Keys
Keys won an incredible 73 percent of points behind her powerful first serves, including 10 out of 11 in the first set. Vandeweghe was unusually inconsistent on her serve, winning less than half of her first service points. Despite her decent 50 percent of second serve points won, Keys once again performed much better as she lost just four points behind her second delivery throughout the whole encounter. It is also worth noting that Keys did not face a single break point at all.
Vandeweghe was very erratic late in the match, throwing in a bulk amount of 22 unforced errors which went with just nine winners. Keys was absolutely firing in the match, blasting 25 winners past her good friend and hitting less than 10 unforced errors, putting up a clinical display of aggressive tennis.
Next up: Debut Grand Slam final appearance
With such an impressive performance, Keys’ reward is a place in her first ever Grand Slam final of her career especially such a tough start to the year which saw her go under the knife for her wrist twice. She will face another compatriot and another good friend Sloane Stephens in what would be a battle between final debutants as both players will look to win their first Grand Slam title.