Australian Open: Madison Keys puts up offensive masterclass to defeat Caroline Garcia

Madison Keys was clinical as she upset eighth seed Caroline Garcia in the fourth round of the 2018 Australian Open, booking a quarterfinal spot in Melbourne.

Australian Open: Madison Keys puts up offensive masterclass to defeat Caroline Garcia
Madison Keys celebrates her huge win | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac
Madison Keys
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Caroline Garcia

It was expected to be a hard-hitting contest when the fourth-meeting between Madison Keys and Caroline Garcia was set. However, pundits did not expect such a one-sided encounter with the 17th seed and recent US Open finalist Keys prevailing easily over the world number eight. Defeating the Frenchwoman 6-3, 6-2 in just over an hour, Keys progresses to her second Australian Open quarterfinal after putting up a clinical aggressive masterclass.

It was a total beatdown from Keys, who won their only previous meeting coming into this encounter. Firing on all cylinders, the American blasted 32 winners (adding onto nine aces) past her opponent while limiting Garcia to only nine winners, reflecting how dominant she was on the court. Furthermore, merciless serving from Keys saw her claim 78 percent of first-serve points, steamrolling over the lackluster Frenchwoman in straight sets.

Keys and Garcia had a nice handshake after the match | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac
Keys and Garcia had a nice handshake after the match | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac

Keys takes the tight first set

Unforced errors from Keys were overwhelming her throughout the opening game, and an unfortunate double-fault saw her being broken as Garcia pounced on the American’s vulnerable second deliveries to take the early lead. The world number eight’s forehands looked incredible, helping her to earn two game points but failed to convert her chances as she ironically handed back the advantage after throwing in her first double-fault of the day.

Comfortable holds for both players followed after the messy start which saw them concede their first service games, though consecutive errors from Garcia allowed Keys to take the lead for the first time, with the American sealing the break on a huge forehand winner. Fending off a pivotal break point in similar style, the underdog consolidated the break before comfortably serving out the opening set 6-3 after impressively hitting four straight winners.

Caroline Garcia in action during the match today | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac
Caroline Garcia in action during the match today | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac

Keys strolls to the win

Garcia’s struggles were carried into the second set as she was unable to handle the pace of Keys’ powerful groundstrokes, and the American was simply firing her way to victory as she was flawless throughout the encounter. The Frenchwoman was then broken in her first service game.

Reflecting on her game during her post-match press conference, Keys was exceptionally pleased with her win, “I'm feeling really good. I feel like I'm playing just solid, consistent tennis. I think today was a good example of that. I think I served well. I think I returned well. But I don't think I played unbelievable. I think I just played really solid and smart.”

Madison Keys reaches out for a forehand return | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac
Madison Keys reaches out for a forehand return | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac

It was four straight games to the hard-hitting American as Keys looked unstoppable, aiming to replicate her semifinal run in 2015 when she made it all the way as an unseeded player. A slight misfocus from Keys allowed Garcia to find a way back into the encounter, and she lessened the deficit to just two games as an improbable comeback was on the cards.

Blink once, and you will miss it — just 68 minutes was needed as Keys regained her composure in time, claiming the last two games for her second consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance, where she will face nemesis and in-form Angelique Kerber, who sneaked past Hsieh Su-wei earlier on today.

Keys was definitely pleased with her performance today | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac
Keys was definitely pleased with her performance today | Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images AsiaPac