Madison finds the Keys to Vondrousova victory

IT has been six years since American Madison Keys contested her home Grand Slam final, and now the 2017 US Open runner-up is just one win away from achieving that feat again. In an impressive display, the 17th seed took down Czech Marketa Vondrousova rather comprehensively, 6-1 6-4 to book her place in the Flushing Meadows semi-finals.

The match lasted an hour and 26 minutes, and in front of a passionate home crowd, Keys got the job done against the ninth seed and reigning Wimbledon champion.

“I love playing here. In front of a home crowd, you feel like you can get out of any situation,” Keys said post-match. “Whenever I walk on court here, I feel like I’m at home.”

Not without some interruptions, the match was delayed early after a spectator required medical attention, but the delay did not dampen Keys’ spirits as the American piled on five straight games to race out to a huge lead. Vondrousova did manage to hold serve – after saving two set points – and avoid a bagel first set, but Keys’ outstanding offensive play off her final first set service game sealed the opener, 6-1.

Vondrousova was far better in the second set, shaking off an elbow injury to force Keys into the first break point opportunities of the match, but the 17th seed found a way to save five break point chances in the eighth game. Not only that, but Keys went on to break Vondrousova and win the match without ever dropping serve, 6-1 6-4 in 86 minutes on court.

The result marked Keys’ first Grand Slam semi-final since the 2018 US Open, and her form in 2023 stacks up to her memorable couple of seasons back then. She won in Eastbourne and has been comfortable on both grass and hard, and knocked off fellow local hope Jessica Pegula in the run to the semi-finals.

Keys faces a stiff opponent for a spot in the final, taking on red-hot Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, with the second seed and new tournament favourite winning at Melbourne Park earlier this year and completely took apart in-form 23rd seed Qinwen Zheng earlier in teh day.

“Almost a completely different match tomorrow. She’s playing unbelievably now. There’s a reason she’s going to be No. 1 in the world [on Monday],” Keys said. “It’ll be a lot of hard hitting, not a lot of rallies. I’m just going to buckle up and get to as many balls as I can.”

In the men’s singles semi-finals, top four seeds, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev predictably made their way into the last four. Alcaraz knocked off German 12th seed Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-2 6-4 in two and a half hours, while Medvedev forced his way past eighth seed and friend, Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-3 6-4 in similar circumstances.

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