(March 23, 2014) Li Na held off Madison Keys 7-6(3), 6-3 in a slugfest on Sunday morning at the Sony Open to reach the fourth round.
The world No. 2 and young American who are both represented by agent Max Eisenbud, each broke serve three time in the opening set. Along with hitting deep groundstrokes, both women committed tons of unforced errors.
Li saved set points, down 3-5 in first set and was forced to rebound from being a break down at 0-2 early in the second set. Keys was within a point of going up 3-0 in the second set.
“I think it was pretty tough match,” Li said. “I think she play well, big serve, big forehand, especially when she was like 3‑1 down and then come back 5‑3‑up and serve for the first set.
“During that time I didn’t think about too much. I say, Okay, try to hit the ball, try to do what you have to do, and I think the, how you say, save the set point was give me a not lot, but at least I was still on the first set.
“So I think this was maybe change the match a little bit, because after that I was feeling she’s drop a little bit.”
“She’s No. 2 in the world for a reason,” Keys said. “She just won Australian Open for a reason. She’s a great player.”
“I played well at times, and she just played the bigger points, you know, really, really well.
“So, I mean, there is a lot to be happy with, but there is also some stuff I need to work on. That’s what I’m going to go do.”
“I definitely think at times I was doing a good job at taking time away, moving forward a little bit better, and looking for my forehand,” Keys said.
My serve was a little bit up and down today. But, I mean, overall I think I did a good job of staying in the moment.
Li will play Carla Suarez Navarro in the fourth round.