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French Open 2018: Keys marches on with quarterfinal win over Putintsevas

Rudy Martinez
115   //    05 Jun 2018, 22:15 IST

2018 French Open Tennis Tournament. Roland Garros.
2018 French Open Tennis Tournament. Roland Garros.

Madison Keys showed tremendous poise and skill to move into the semifinals of the French Open Tuesday. The 14th seed had some rough moments but blazed through her match against Yulia Putintseva winning 7-6(5), 6-4 on Suzanne Lenglen Court at Roland Garros. The American put the pedal to the metal in the second set that took 34 minutes putting together a fast pace to get the job done.

This was the second quarterfinal appearance for the Kazak at the open and going against the American would be a big chance to progress. They met two years ago in which Putintseva showed that she could bring the challenge to the world number 13. While it wasn’t an easy feat to pull off, the 23 year old would try attain the highest point of her career in making her first major semifinal. Keys has yet to drop a set in her tournament run showing her comfort on the clay courts and her eagerness to go all the way.

Things didn’t go as planned for the American, unable to get a grip on her opponent who served well to start the set. They went through six games on serve till the Kazak nailed down the first break in the seventh. With a hold in the eighth, she added pressure to Keys who had eight errors recorded but avoided falling a set down. She dug in against Putiniseva answering with solid winners that gave her the first break to her name and a chance to turn the tables.

It happened giving Keys a 6-5 lead on the count of Putiniseva erring on the returns that put her on the edge of losing after all the effort put in. Keys had a good look on closing out the set but Putiniseva stayed in the competition forcing deuce on serve. She won it on the second break delivering a tough return that Keys hit back wide sending the two into a tiebreak. Putiniseva opened with a 2-0 run that had Keys changing up her tactics. She won her first point coming up to the net with a lob defense. She added two more to lead holding Putiniseva’s serve back.

It was at that point that Keys remained out front to end the tiebreak a point ahead of Putiniseva winning it 7-6 bringing an end to the set in 50 minutes. Despite having 13 unforced errors, the 18 winners she managed to rack up were the main reason of her victory. Putiniseva impressed many with just three and the knowledge of attacking Keys backhand which produced the most errors.

She used that going into the second set with a hold but while down 0-30 in the second, she argued a call that looked out on clay but was called in giving Keys a clean serve to love. They remained on serve through six until Keys captured break that gave her a 4-3 lead over Putiniseva. The American had full control of her serve that made it 5-3 for the 14th seed and Putiniseva in danger of elimination. She answered back with a big hold to stay alive but wasn’t out of trouble with Keys serving for the match.

Putiniseva put in a lot of fight to keep Keys from getting to the goal but the forehand winners from the American were too much to handle. A final line drive winner came too fast for the Kazak who barely got a piece of it but not enough to return cleanly. It was the tenth error to come from the unseeded star who kept the pace but couldn’t hold off the strengthening first serve of Keys. She scored 83 percent of points with more than half of them recording as winners. With another milestone etched into her career, the 23 year old would set up for her semifinal match against Sloane Stephens or Darya Kasatkina.

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Rudy Martinez
A writer with eight years experience in sportswriting. He specializes in the National Hockey League, WTA Tennis and both summer and winter Olympic sports.
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