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By: James Waterson
Photo Credit: Tom Grason
Madison Keys
(December 19, 2011) American rising star Madison Keys and 24-year-old
Jesse Levine received wild cards into the Australian Open after they won the USTA’s Australian Open Wild Card Playoff Sunday.

The 16-year-old Keys, ranked No. 272, won her first ever Grand Slam singles match at this year’s US Open. She received a wild card for the US Open as well after she won a similar playoff before the tournament.

“Yes, I’m starting to like these wild card playoffs,” Keys said. “I knew she was getting pressured by my power and my serve was able to come in handy today.”
In the final, Keys beat 229th-ranked Gail Brodsky, who defeated Melanie Oudin and Coco Vandeweghe earlier in the tournament, 6-3, 6-4.

“Anything I was throwing at her was not good enough today,” Brodsky said. “But I’m not upset with myself because I know there’s not much else I could have done.”

Keys isn’t the only young player to earn an Australian Open wildcard. One week ago, 15-year-old Ashleigh Barty won the Australian Open wildcard playoff in Australia.

On the men’s side, Levine dominated 2005 US Open semifinalist
Robby Ginepri 6-0, 6-2, 6-1. Currently ranked No. 164, Levine is perhaps best known for upsetting Marat Safin in the first round of Wimbledon in 2009.

“I was just wondering after the first set if I could really stay with it. I wasn’t expecting to come out like that. I know Robby’s fit and in shape, I just didn’t expect to come out like that and was wondering if I was going to be able to keep it up,” Levine said. “Everything seemed to go my way and I was moving well and hitting the ball well all day.”

Levine hasn’t played in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament since he qualified for Wimbledon in 2010. The 2012 Australian Open will be his second appearance in Melbourne.

 

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