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By Tennis Now | Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Madison Keys

Madison Keys conquered Yulia Putintseva, 7-6 (5), 6-4, to reach the Roland Garros semifinals for the first time.

Photo credit: Roland Garros Facebook

Madison Keys stared into the service box then threw down one final bolt to seal her Paris breakthrough.

Keys cracked a stinging serve closing a 7-6 (5), 6-4, conquest of Yulia Putintseva in style to reach the Roland Garros semifinals for the first time. 

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The victory vaults Keys into her third career Grand Slam semifinal and back into the world's Top 10.

The 13th-seeded Keys will face either 14th-seeded Russian Daria Kasatkina or her good friend, Sloane Stephens, in what would be a rematch of the 2017 US Open final, which Stephens swept in straight sets.

It is Keys' first major semifinal on a surface other than hard court. She contested the 2015 Australian Open semifinals and the 2017 US Open semis on hard courts and has tempered her power with patience in Paris.

In her final tournament with Hall of Famer Lindsay Davenport as her coach, Keys rallied from 3-5 down in the opening set.

The US Open finalist found her range, began swinging more freely and commanded the center of the court. Keys fired 30 winners—nearly tripling Putintseva's total of 12 winners.

"I think every year I always kind of struggle to find the balanace between still playing my game and being a little more patient," Keys told Tennis Channel's Justin Gimelstob afterward. "I think I've found that sweet spot. I'm happy to be in semifinals."

When Putintseva served for the first set in the ninth game Keys locked in and lashed some menacing forehand returns to break back.

The match pitted Keys' damaging power against Putintseva's variety and movement, which she used effectively at times to unsettle the American.

As the quarterfinal progressed, Keys began using her serve to set up the first strike. The 13th-seeded American won 31 of 37 points played on her first serve.

Keys broke for a 4-3 second-set lead and quickly consolidated for 5-3. Keys closed her first win over Putintseva in 84 minutes.

The 23-year-old Keys continues her quest for a fourth title and first career Grand Slam championship.


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