(January 23, 2022) Madison Keys is back. The 26-year-old American is in the middle of a resurgence, currently on a 10-match winning streak with her fourth-round win over No. 8 seed Paula Badosa of Spain 6-3, 6-1 to be the first woman to reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open this year. It’s her first major elite 8 since 2019 at Roland Garros and first in Australia since 2018. She has now made 8 major tournament quarterfinals in her career.
Keys, who is currently ranked 51 in the world, is fresh off her sixth career WTA title last week in Adelaide. The 24-year-old Badosa came into the match with a 9-match winning streak, having won the Sydney tournament.
The unseeded Keys knocked out 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the first round in Melbourne.
Keys was a dominant force straight out of the gate on Sunday jumping out to a 3-0 lead and holding her serve the rest of the set to take it 6-3 in 32 minutes.
It was all Keys in the second set breaking Badosa’s serve 4 times taking the match 6-3, 6-1 in 69 minutes.
Keys hit 26 winners to Badosa’s 10. Badosa, who had her right shoulder taped, hit 10 double-faults.
Keys hit three aces getting 76% of her first serves in. “I think I served pretty well and I think I returned really well,” said Keys. “So I think I kind of just off the first ball I had a little bit of the advantage on a lot of the points and then was able to dictate.
“I knew I was gonna have to take my chances and go for it because if I gave her an inch she was gonna take it.”
Badosa talked about Keys’ power in her news conference: “When she has confidence, she’s very dangerous. She’s playing a lot of matches, feeling the ball very well. As I said before playing her, she has a very good serve and very good forehand. I got to see it today.”
“Sometimes I was serving 180k/h,” Badosa said. “I had to look what the serve said because I didn’t understand how a winner came back that fast. I thought I was serving bad. Then I saw it was her game, that she was playing very, very good.”
“Madison, she’s like that.”
Keys will play No. 4 seed French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova for a place in the semifinals. Krejcikova beat two-time Australian Open champion and 24th seed Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-2 who received treatment for a neck injury. It’s the Czech’s first time reaching the elite 8 in Australia in singles play.
“It was really amazing because she’s a champion here,” said Krejcikova “I have a lot of respect for her. I really admire her.”
“I’m extremely happy I won today, doing everything to get this win. I was really preparing for this, actually for a dream like this to play on such a court and play a champion.”
“Wow, I’m in the quarter-finals.”
Barbora Krejcikova hit 23 winners, 12 unforced errors with 87% first serve points won.
No. 21 Jessica Pegula backed up last year’s quarterfinal showing in Melbourne with a 7-6(0), 6-3 win over No. 5 seed Maria Sakkari on Sunday.
“That definitely was the best match I’ve played this year, this tournament for sure,” said Pegula.
“I was glad I was able to bring it today. I thought I returned really well, I really from the start wanted to put a lot of pressure on her serve.
“I knew I had to just take my chances but also be patient.”
“I had a lot of really tough matches. I honestly was just really excited to play today.”
“A disappointing performance today, ” noted the woman from Greece. “The conditions were very fast. Jess was playing, like, extremely fast. I didn’t have any answers. I really tried my best, but my game was not even close to, like, 60, 70%. It was just disappointing. And it still is.”
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 23: Ashleigh Barty of Australia is interviewed after winning her fourth round singles match against Amanda Anisimova of United States during day seven of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
No. 1 Ash Barty lead off the night session in Rod Laver Arena with a 6-4, 6-3 win over unseeded American Amanda Anisimova. Other than her string of 63 consecutive service holds broken, the Aussie was in control of the match. She hit 23 winners versus 17 unforced errors. Anisimova was coming off an upset of defending champion Naomi Osaka on Friday night.
In her on-court interview, on adjusting to being No. 1, Barty said: “I think the most important thing is I just tried to be me, I just continued to be me, and that’s all I can do, that’s what I’m good at, that’s who I am and that’s who I wanna be.”
Barty is trying to become the first Australian woman to win her home major since 1978.
Rafael Nadal overcame a first set test, but closed out Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(14), 6-2, 6-2 to reach his 14th final 8 at the Australian Open. Nadal won the first set tiebreak in 28 minutes 16-14.
“First set was very emotional,” said the Spaniard. “Anything could happen there. I was a little bit lucky at the end. He had a lot of chances too. I am very happy I survived that first set without a doubt.”
Nadal remains the only former Australian Open winner in the draw. Nadal is seeking his second Melbourne title for a record 21st major. It was his 21st straight win against a fellow lefthander.
“After first set I couldn’t really fight against Rafa,” said world No. 69 Mannarino. “You know, he was playing too well for me not to be 100%. The second and third set just went all the way for Rafa, so that’s it.”
Nadal: “In quarterfinals, what to expect, no? Is a match to try my best, to play at my highest level if I want to have chances to go through. And, yeah, I’m excited about it, honestly, no? I didn’t expect to be where I am weeks ago.”
Nadal will be playing 14th seed Denis Shapovalov for a spot in the semifinals. The Canadian beat No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 to earn his first ever elite 8 spot at the Australian Open. It’s his first Top 5 win at a major. He’s just the third Canadian to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Nadal: “When I played against him (Shapovalov in ’17), after the match I said he gonna be potential multi-Grand Slam winner. And I still think that if he’s able to keep improving, he will be a multi-Grand Slam winner, no? He has a lot of amazing things on his game.”
“It’s always an honor to go up against a guy like Rafa,” Shapovalov said. “It’s always fun. Always going to be a battle against him.”
“I give credit to Denis,” said Zverev. “It’s incredible he’s in the quarters. I think he deserves it. He’s done a lot of work. He’s improved his game. But I’ve got to look at myself, as well. Today was just, yeah, today was just, in my opinion, awful from my side.”
“Probably the one (match) I least expected to finish in three,” the Canadian said. “Definitely happy with where the game is at. I played pretty smart today.”
No. 17 Gael Monfils made just his second trip to the Australian Open quarterfinals with s straight sets win over Serb Miomir Kecmanovic 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-3. The Frenchman has not dropped a set in the tournament.
Monfils will be playing No. 7 Matteo Berrettini who stopped Pablo Carreno Busta 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-4. It will be the Italian’s first quarterfinal down under. He’s now reached all four major’s final 8.
More to follow…..