In the first quarterfinal match of the Australian Open’s Day 10, an all-American affair descends on Rod Laver Arena. Unseeded Madison Keys is playing in the last eight of a major tournament for the first time in her career, taking out two seeds (No. 29 Casey Dellacqua and No. 4 Petra Kvitova) along the way. Across the net stands No. 18 seed Venus Williams; the veteran’s career achievements speak for themselves, but the competitive 34-year-old still wants more. Williams is into her first Australian Open quarterfinal since 2010, and leads Keys 1-0 in previous encounters (Charleston 2013). The winner will play either defending finalist and No. 11 seed Dominika Cibulkova or top seed and five-time Australian Open champion, Serena Williams.
Continue to refresh this page for game-by-game analysis of Keys/(18) V. Williams:
Keys d. V. Williams 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 (* denotes next to serve)
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Keys 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 V. Williams
Venus has really struggled when pushed behind the baseline. Not nearly enough height on her shots. Lost the first two points of the game with two netted balls. Venus had a sitter at the net at 0-30 and Madison guesses right for the forehand pass to set up three match points. Keys win the match after pulverizing a short Venus ball in the middle of the court. Massive victory for Keys and a tough loss for Venus. It all slipped away pretty quickly for Venus at the end. That’s what an opponent like Keys can do to you.
Keys 6-3, 4-6, 5-4* V. Williams
Madison one game away from victory after a very positive game that saw her hit some super clean shots. The pressure now on Venus to stay in the tournament.
Keys 6-3, 4-6, *4-4 V. Williams
Madison dictates the first two points of this game with her forehand to race out to a 0-30 lead. This match with as many twists and turns as one could fancy. Venus passive second serve at 30-30 punished by Keys to set up break point. Madison breaks on another Venus second serve point with a forehand winner. We are squared at 4-4.
Keys 6-3, 4-6, 3-4* V. Williams
Keys forehand all over the place in this game. Two break back points for Venus. Venus secures the break with a rocket of a forehand up the line. She leads 4-3. Two games away from the semifinals.
Keys 6-3, 4-6, *3-3 V. Williams
Madison lets Venus escape with a soft second serve on the first point of the game. Can’t let opportunities like those go at this juncture. For the second straight game, Madison roped an inside-in forehand for a winner. Really great directional variety off that wing for Madison. Venus makes an approach with not nearly enough pace or direction at 30-30 and Madison hits a tremendous backhand pass to set up break point which Venus saves with a commanding cross-court forehand that Madison couldn’t return. A great forehand set up by a great serve allows Venus to save yet another break point. Venus hits a forehand wide and Madison levels this final set at 3-3. Venus’ inadequate second serve really catching up to her.
Keys 6-3, 4-6, 2-3* V. Williams
Madison’s forehand still continues to impress. She can really send that inside-out forehand for a ride. She holds for 2-3. The mental resolve from the teenager is great to see. This cannot be an easy situation for her.
Keys 6-3, 4-6, *1-3 V. Williams
Venus has no trouble consolidating. Keys continues to make error after error. Venus holds at love as Keys misses her eight straight shot.
Keys 6-3, 4-6, 1-2* V. Williams
Venus taking the initiative returning in this game but misses two returns in succession. Madison makes a poor approach into the net and then nets a routine forehand then a routine backhand to set up break point for Venus. Madison really needs to keep her composure here after a fourth straight miss. Venus leads 2-1 in the third set.
Keys 6-3, 4-6, *1-1 V. Williams
Really puzzling decision making from Venus who attempts drill back one of Madison’s fearsome second serve returns to go down 0-30. She rallies back in the game with some big serves and an untimely backhand error from Keys. Keys will limit the pain on her left thigh if she can start hitting more backhands with a closed or neutral stance rather than an open stance which forces her to play off her left leg. A very big first serve at deuce allows Venus to avoid break point. She then holds for 1-1.
Keys 6-3, 4-6, 1-0* V. Williams
Keys dumps a routine backhand volley at 30-30 and Venus sails a backhand return long at deuce. Keys saves a break point with a superb touch forehand volley, once again demonstrating her feel. Big hold for the young American saving two break points.
Keys 6-3, *4-6 V. Williams
Keys misses a very simple cross-court forehand at 30-15 to give Venus set point. Williams hits an ace up the T to secure the second. We’re going to a decider. It’s hard to see Madison getting through this one if she’s physically compromised even if Venus is not playing anywhere near her peak.
Keys 6-3, 4-5* V. Williams
That cross-court backhand still troubling Keys, as she quickly falls behind 0-30. Venus very effective going inside-out with her forehand into Madison’s backhand. Keys saves the first break point with a terrific inside-out forehand of her own and the second with a scorcher of a backhand up the line. Madison winces in pain after missing a wide backhand at deuce. Keys sails another backhand wide and Venus will serve for the set.
Keys 6-3, *4-4 V. Williams
Venus back to more or less rolling second serves into play. Keys still looking physically hampered and is starting to take some bigger cuts as she looks to end the points quicker. Venus hits what was a very formidable serve on break point, but Keys was having none as she drilled it back cross-court with Venus unable to put it back into play.
Keys 6-3, 3-4* V. Williams
Keys now appears to be hobbling and isn’t gaining the same leverage on her serve. Nevertheless, she holds and trails by just one game in this second set. We’ll see if Venus attempts to move Keys around the court in an attempt to put that apparent thigh injury to the test.
Keys 6-3, *2-4 V. Williams
After Keys sees the trainer for what appears to be a thigh injury, play resumes with Venus serving with a double break lead at 4-1. Keys seemingly unaffected by whatever she saw the trainer for and breaks immediately back to love. Extremely sloppy game by Venus, possibly thrown off by that long delay and whatever Keys is dealing with.
Keys 6-3, 1-4* V. Williams
Venus continuing to take unnecessary risks when pushed behind the baseline. She’ll need to do a bit more neutralizing when put on the defensive. From 0-30, Keys misfires on two cross-court backhands. The cross-court backhand has been the most problematic shot for Keys thus far. Two more backhand errors give Venus another break. Worrying for Keys that these backhand misses have come off neutral balls.[tweet https://twitter.com/vrcsports/status/560240965185966080 align=’center’]
Keys 6-3, *1-3 V. Williams
Venus dumps a very low margin forehand from well behind the baseline on the first point of the game. She’ll need to establish a bit more patience even though it’s vital that she be dictating. Madison fails to hit through an opening at 0-15 after Venus makes a dangerous cross-court approach. Venus now beginning to establish a bit more pace/direction on her second serve. She consolidates for 3-1.
Keys 6-3, 1-2* V. Williams
A double fault at the start of the game and a routine inside-out forehand error at 15-30 set up a break point for Venus. That inside-out forehand was a shot Keys was making in the first set with regularity. Another double fault gives Venus the break and a 2-1 lead.
Keys 6-3, *1-1 V. Williams
As fearsome as Keys is off the forehand side, her backhand appears to be the more technically sound shot. Venus captures a much needed, stress-free hold of serve.[tweet https://twitter.com/NickMcCarvel/status/560237831981764609 align=’center’]
Keys 6-3, 1-0* V. Williams
A lack of authority from Venus off the ground very surprising. Madison continues to devastate with that serve out wide on the deuce side and the forehand up the line. Easy hold.
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Keys *6-3 V. Williams
Keys opens up the 5-3 game with a very delicate drop volley. A nice contrast from her typically powerful game. A double fault from Venus adding more concern over her second serve. Keys hits another winner of the Venus second serve. Venus ends the first set 5/13 on second serve points. This stat is clearly the difference maker.[tweet https://twitter.com/TomPerrotta/status/560235550255230976 align=’center’]
Keys 5-3* V. Williams
Keys races out to a quick 30-0 lead, exactly what she needed after breaking serve. The youngster looks far more comfortable going cross-court with her forehand as opposed to the backhand, but is wonderfully combining her serve and forehand. Looking much stronger off the second serve as well.
Keys *4-3 V. Williams
Keys bullets a return winner to take a 0-30 lead in the all-critical seventh game of the set. A second serve winner from Keys gives her the first break point of the match. Venus looking very unsure of herself off the second serve. Keys has been able to gain the upper hand in the majority of rallies thus far.
Keys *3-3 V. Williams
Venus stands well in front of the baseline and drills a second serve return to start the game off. Williams showing no signs of backing down to Madison’s massive serve. After two neutral ball errors from each player, Keys drills a big serve at 30-30. She replicates the feat once again at deuce. Always nice for an underdog to have such a reliable weapon against a higher ranked opponent. Game ends with another neutral ball error from Venus.
Keys 3-2* V. Williams
Venus breezes through her third service game to love. Keys still looking to find her rhythm off the return. Still feels like we are in a bit of a feeling out period in this match.
Keys *2-2 V. Williams
Keys has tremendous power on her forehand, but it’s tough ignore how big her swing is. Makes it very hard for her to transition from the baseline to the net. Venus, like Keys, has been unable to get into second serve return points. Keys serve appears to be clicking early on.
Keys 2-1* V. Williams
Venus starts the game with a lucky net cord, returning the favor from the opening game. Keys still unable to capitalize on some of the soft second serves Venus has thrown her way. A comfortable hold.
Keys *1-1 V. Williams
Keys trudges her way through an error-strewn game. Neither player yet to find their footing quite yet. Keys already establishing a dominant pattern with the out wide serve and the down the line forehand. A lot of flat, low margin hitting thus far– not surprising given how aggressive each player hopes to be.
Keys 1-0* V. Williams
Keys jumped out to a quick 0-30 lead on the back of a lucky net cord. Venus puts in a sitter of a second serve at 15-30, Keys unable to take advantage sailing the return long. Two first serves in from 30-30 and Venus secures the opening game of the match.
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Keys 0-0 V. Williams
Venus will serve to start this quarterfinal match. Enjoy and be sure to follow along.
In a battle of two hard-hitting Americans, Venus Williams and Madison Keys will each be looking to power their way into a spot in the Australian Open semifinals. Both players rely on heavy groudstrokes and will aim to dictate from the back of the court to win points. Their first-strike strategies are facilitated by their booming serves. It will be critical for each player, particularly Keys (who possess bigger backswings), not to over-hit and obtain solid timing from the very onset of the match.