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Keys on Challenge Facing Gauff in All-American US Open Clash


NEW YORK—Friday fireworks will erupt in Arthur Ashe Stadium before Serena Williams even steps on court to launch the night session.

Former US Open finalist Madison Keys will face Roland Garros runner-up Coco Gauff in an all-American clash of two players who can bruise the ball.

More: Serena Stops World No. 2 Kontaveit

The third-round clash is a rematch of the Adelaide semifinals last January. The then 87th-ranked Keys brought the fun and fire fighting off  Gauff 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to advance to her 11th career final at the Adelaide International

Keys knocked off three Grand Slam champions in succession—Jelena Ostapenko, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek and Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina—en route to the Cincinnati semifinals last month.

The 20th-ranked Keys has already beaten two big hitters in Dayana Yastremska and Camila Giorgi and knows she must attack against the speedy teenager.

"We had I think a three-set match earlier this year. She's obviously a phenomenal tennis player, has had a lot of success," Keys said of Gauff. "I think it's going to be another match where we're both big hitters and we're both going to be trying to be the aggressor. I look forward to it"

Tennis Express

It's a match that should be decided on which women can effectively impose first-strike tennis. Gauff blasted the fastest serve of the tournament—a 128 mph missile—in her second round win. Gauff has won 81 percent of her first-serve points, which is fourth-best in the tournament, and is also partnering Jessica Pegula in doubles giving her more reps on serve and return.

"I think the challenge will be just being aggressive," Gauff said of facing Keys. "I mean, she's an aggressive player, so I feel like I need to take my chances when I can.I learned a lot from that match. In the beginning of the yearI feel like in general, I wasn't in a good head space, I wasn't confident in my tennis.

"I feel like now I'm really confident in my tennis. I feel like that maybe might change the outcome of the match, maybe not.I can say win or lose, I'm going to be playing confident in my tennis and being satisfied, I hope satisfied, with how I'mplaying. Can't look into the future.I think I'm in a much different head space now. Maybe the result might be different. At least I hope so."

Photo credit: Getty

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