Madison Keys became the first player to reach the semifinals of the 2022 Australian Open, defeating Barbora Krejcikova 6-3, 6-2 in her quarterfinal fixture. Keys needs only two more victories to lift her maiden Grand Slam, an achievement no one is more deserving of, according to the legendary Chris Evert.
The 18-time Grand Slam champion took to Twitter immediately following her compatriot's victory to congratulate her on reaching her second semifinal at the Melbourne Major.
Keys came agonizingly close to winning her first Major at the 2017 US Open but lost to Sloane Stephens in the final. Since then, the World No. 51 has reached two semifinals and two quarterfinals, but a first Grand Slam title has eluded her.
But Evert reckons Keys' long wait could finally come to an end at Melbourne Park this week.
"Does anyone deserve to win a Grand Slam title more than Madison Keys??????" Evert tweeted.
Stephens, who lost to Emma Raducanu in the first round in Melbourne, echoed a similar sentiment. The American took to Twitter to hail Keys for her victory and hoped she could go all the way.
"I know y’all see my girl Madison Keys. Let’s goooooooo," Stephens tweeted.
Madison Keys has reached the semifinals of the Australian Open again after a seven-year wait
The quarterfinal victory over fourth seed Krejcikova marked Keys' 11th win of the 2022 season. She won her first-round match at the Melbourne Summer Set 1 before losing to Daria Kasatkina in the second round.
She followed that up by racing to her sixth career title at the Adelaide International 2, winning five matches on the trot. At Melbourne Park, the American has won five consecutive matches to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time since 2015. On that occasion, she was beaten by Serena WIlliams who went on to defeat Maria Sharapova in the final.
The 10-match winning streak is the longest of Keys' career so far.
Another notable achievement from the American during her impressive run in Melbourne is that she has won back-to-back matches against top-10 players for the first time in her career. Before taking care of Krejcikova, Keys defeated World No. 6 Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-1 in the fourth round.
The 2022 Australian Open is also the first tournament since the 2016 Italian Open that Keys has defeated two top-10 players. She beat Petra Kvitova (then World No. 9) in the second round and Garbine Muguruza (then World No. 4) in the semifinals.
The American's form in 2022 seems all the more impressive considering she won only 11 matches the previous year. Across the entirety of 2021, Keys reached only one quarterfinal (German Open). In 2022, the former World No. 7 has already racked up 11 wins.
Keys will play either World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty or World No. 21 Jessica Pegula for a place in the 2022 Australian Open final.