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Madison Keys Defeats Marketa Vondrousova, Enters US Open Semi

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American Madison Keys defeated Marketa Vondrousova, the defending Wimbledon winner, 6-1, 6-4 to go to the US Open quarterfinals. She saved all nine break points that she came up against on Wednesday night.

Keys, a finalist at the 2017 US Open, has had a few previous early exits at Flushing Meadows but has excelled in the 2023 competition and has seemed completely at home in prime time under the high lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“I think I just find another gear when it comes to Slams,” Keys told reporters. “Part of it is that I put a little bit more pressure on myself, which is a good thing and also a bad thing sometimes.

“But I’ve just peaked at the right time, I guess. I haven’t had too many disappointing exits at Slams.”

With a strained arm from a three-set battle against American Peyton Stearns in the fourth round and little energy left for the quarterfinal match, Vondrousova, the No. 9 seed, withdrew from her doubles campaign.

“I just love it here. I love playing here. In front of a home crowd you can never feel like you can’t get out of any situation,” said Keys, who advanced to her sixth major semifinal and third at the US Open (2017, ’18). “I knew I was going to have to keep trying to get to the net, be aggressive.”

Keys will next play No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka, who earlier on Wednesday easily defeated China’s Zheng Qinwen on Arthur Ashe.

“It’s going to be a lot of hard hitting, not a lot of long points,” said Keys, who lost to Sabalenka in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in July. “Just going to try to buckle up and get as many balls back as I can.”

Keys claimed that applying the proper amount of pressure to oneself requires a careful balancing act.

“Sometimes I do it well and sometimes I do it really badly, but I think it’s reminding yourself — these are the matches that you grow up dreaming of. These are the moments you want to be in,” Keys said. “So that kind of pressure of — it’s the big stage, but also just the reminder of this is literally what we’ve dreamed of. These are the moments that you’re practicing for and you’re playing for and you’re constantly trying to get back to.”

No. 6 Coco Gauff and No. 10 Karolina Muchova will face off in the other women’s semifinal, with their quarterfinal victories on Tuesday. The last time Serena Williams and Jennifer Brady, two American women, advanced to the US Open quarterfinals was in 2020.

The first game of Keys vs. Vondrousova had to be stopped for eight minutes because a spectator on the lower level required medical assistance. Keys came over to where the fan was being helped with two towels and a bottle of water. The incident, according to the U.S. Tennis Association, was unrelated to the heat.

Keys quickly asserted control, breaking Vondrousova to love in the second game and saving another break point with a superb forehand winner in the fourth. It was evident that Keys had not been shaken by the event.

Vondrousova raised her game overall and significantly improved her serve, but she was unable to gain any momentum and was instead forced to regret squandered opportunities after missing five break points in the ninth game alone in the second set.

Keys defeated her opponent, and when she forced Vondrousova to make a backhand error on match point, the crowd cheered, in the ninth game.

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