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By Erik Gudris | Saturday, April 19, 2014

 
Madison Keys Fed Cup St. Louis 2014

Madison Keys clinched a dramatic three set win over France's Alize Cornet to level the U.S. versus France tie in St. Louis.

Photo Credit: AP

Madison Keys secured a much needed win to level the U.S versus France Fed Cup World Group Playoff tie at 1-all in St. Louis, Missouri.

The day went from deflation to delight for the U.S. team who looked on the verge of going down 0-2 early versus a tough French squad.

Sloane Stephens led things off for the U.S. against France's Caroline Garcia making her Fed Cup debut. Garcia, fresh off winning her maiden WTA title in Bogota last week, carried that confidence into this rubber. Though Stephens would claim an initial break, Garcia would climb back into the first set. Hitting with more accuracy, Garcia often controlled most of the longer rallies. Soon Garcia took the set 6-3.

Garcia broke Stephens to start the second set. But Stephens would level things for 2-all. Unable to impose herself, Stephens surrendered yet another break. Garcia, with a stinging crosscourt forehand winner, broke again for a 5-2 lead.

A final groundstroke error from Stephens allowed Garcia to celebrate the 6-3, 6-2 win.

"It's an amazing dream to play for my country," Garcia said after the match. "I just play my match and play my game. I was happy to win this for my country and we have to keep going,"

Stephens' loss meant the pressure was on Madison Keys playing in the second singles rubber against France's No. 1 Alize Cornet. Trading multiple breaks early, both players soon needed a tiebreak to decide the opening set. Though Cornet jumped out to a 6-2 lead, Keys saved three set points before the Frenchwoman closed it out.

Another tiebreak was needed to decide the second set. But this time it was Keys who took advantage of two netted shots from Cornet to seize it 7-6(4).

With Cornet complaining of a left groin injury, that allowed Keys to seize momentum in the decider. Keys would jump out to a 4-1, then 5-2 lead.

Despite being unable to serve it out the first time, Keys would not have to wait long for victory. Cornet would double fault on her final two service points in the last game.

Keys and her entire team celebrate the nearly three hour 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-3 win. This was also Keys' first ever Fed Cup victory.

The tie is now level at 1-all heading into Sunday's reverse singles rubbers. The winning team after Sunday will book a spot into next year's World Group main draw.

 

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