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By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, July 10, 2023


Madison Keys rallied from a one-set, 1-4 deficit defeating 16-year-old qualifier Mirra Andreeva 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time since 2015.

Photo credit: Rob Newell/CameraSport

Wimbledon—Booming power propelled Madison Keys to the best grass-court run of her career.

Calm creativity helped carry Keys into the Wimbledon quarterfinals today.

More: Azarenka Booed Off Court in Loss to Svitolina

Rallying from a one-set, 1-4 deficit, a calm Keys unleashed a lefty forehand winner to help ignite her comeback. Keys conquered 16-year-old qualifier Mirra Andreeva 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 on No. 2 Court to advance to the last eight for the first time since 2015.

It is Keys' ninth career Grand Slam quarterfinal.

As the match progressed, Keys reduced her unforced errors committing only seven of her 40 unforced errors in the decisive set.

Afterward, Keys said she was impressed by Andreeva's game and willingness to go for her shots.

"It's more that she's 16, she's very free, going to play some of her best tennis. You go in knowing there's going to be moments where she's playing incredibly well," Keys said. "Obviously she's been playing well to get this far.

"Then there's also it's tough being on the other side of the net of a 16-year-old who is really playing with nothing to lose and you're the one that's supposed to beat her. That's always a difficult position to be in. I think she's a really great player on top of all of that. All in all, it was a tricky match."

The 25th-seeded Keys will play either Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka or 21st-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova for a spot in her first Wimbledon semifinal.

It was Keys' ninth consecutive grass-court win and came nine days after she defeated Daria Kasatkina to win Eastbourne without surrendering a set.

In fact, Keys had swept all 16 grass-court sets she's played this season until Andreeva turned the tide for a set-and-a-half today.

Facing an 0-2 hole, Andreeva began carving up Keys with her ball control and that backhand down the line reeling off nine of the next 10 games snatching a one-set lead and taking leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in the second set. 

Bidding to become the seventh qualifier to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals and youngest since compatriot Anna Kournikova in 1997, Andreeva moved gracefully and blistered some backhands down the line building her lead.

The teenager was playing cleaner tennis and enjoying the support of many in the No. 2 Court. Andreeva, who played through qualifying to reach the Roland Garros third round last month, stings the ball bigger than her 5'7" size suggests. 

"I think she moves incredibly well, especially from a younger player, you don't normally see them already have the ability to get in and out of corners the way I saw her doing today," Keys said. "Honestly, I think she served better than me today. I was very impressed with her serve. Overall I think she has a very solid game. It's obviously going to improve with time."

Seven games into the second set, Keys delivered a higher level.

Fending off a break point, Keys held for 2-4.

In the seventh game, Keys channeled her inner Maria Sharapova pulling off a running left-handed forehand pass to stun Andreeva and break back in the seventh game of the second set. 

"I mean, I kind of have it. Like I have a pretty good lefty forehand," Keys said. "Just how the ball was coming, it was just easier to hit that that way.

"I don't think one specific shot did anything extra. I think it just happened to be the shot that got me the break back."

Keys won 12 of the last 14 points played on her serve to force the second-set tiebreaker.

Deadlocked at 4-4, Keys crushed a crackling forehand and followed it forward to knock off a forehand volley. 
Digging in, Keys Keys' jolting strikes combined with the teenager's untimely petulance proved pivotal as the American won the final three points of the breaker to force a final set.

An edge in experience was evident as Keys saved two break points holding to open the decider then saw Andreeva gift wrap the break netting her third double fault as the American went up 2-0.

Twice today, the chair umpire incorrectly overruled on Keys' winning shots. The first was an ace the second game in the fifth game when the chair ruled a Keys' shot, called good by the linesperson, long. Keys challenged and won though the chair umpire ruled for a replay. Shrugging it off, Keys held for 4-1.

Across the net, as pressure mounted, Andreeva was rushing through serve points with Keys holding her hand up in the air a few times to slow the teenager down.

Andreeva tossed her Wilson racquet after losing the second-set tiebreaker for a code violation warning and in the final game was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct point penalty for again losing her racquet though she argued it slipped out of her hand chasing a shot in the final game.

However that argument did not sway the chair umpire.

That second transgression handed Keys a match point and she seized it closing in two hours, three minutes. 

"For me it's a controversial point because I'm not sure if -- I don't know which decision was right," Andreeva said. "She's the umpire. She's the one who makes the decision.

"But, honestly, I didn't have any intention to throw the racquet. I slid. Honestly, I thought that I will fall forward. Maybe it did look like I threw the racquet. I don't know. I didn't see any videos yet. But that was her decision to make, so she made this decision. Now that's it. She made the decision, so the match is over now."

Despite a terrific Wimbledon run, an annoyed Andreeva declined to shake the chair umpire's had afterward and departed quickly without a wave to the appreciative crowd.

Still, this superb Wimbledon run vaults Andreeva to a new career-high ranking of No. 64 in the live rankings and as she matures and learns to control her emotions better on court surely the best is yet to come for the teenager.

When she was 14 years old, Keys famously defeated one of her tennis heroes, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, in a World TeamTennis match. Asked the advice she'd offer to a 16-year-old Andreeva, Keys said tune out the noise from skeptics.

"I would say ignore everyone and everything that they say unless you actually care about their opinion," Keys said.

Meanwhile, Keys, the first American to win her first three grass-court finals since Hall of Famer Billie Jean King in 1968, targets her first career Wimbledon semifinal. If the 2017 US Open finalist makes it, Keys will have contested all four Grand Slam semifinals.


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