NEW YORK—It had been such a steady summer for Sofia Kenin极速赛车双面盘—title in Mallorca, final in Toronto, semis in Cincinnati. She had taken advantage of her opportunities, and generally been the tougher, cagier competitor in her matches, even against bigger-hitting opponents.
Which is why she must be asking herself—while she berates herself—how it could end like this, with a defeat at the hands of an opponent, Madison Keys, who was struggling physically, and who gave her innumerable opportunities to turn the match around in the second set. Somehow Kenin kept finding ways not to take those opportunities. She overhit easy second serve returns. She lost cat-and-mouse points at the net that she seemed to have won. She netted routine backhands on big points, even when she was just trying to hit the ball back down the middle. She earned five more break points than Keys—eight to three—but couldn’t convert any.
Her frustration likely reach its zenith in the last two games. Kenin had been the better player for much of the set, and seemed destined to break serve eventually. Keys had called the doctor out and had her blood pressure and heart rate checked, and she was sweating through her visor. But, desperate to keep the match from going to a third set, she hung on to her serve.
At 5-5, it was Kenin who cracked instead, double faulting at break point。 Serving for the match, though, Keys seemed tight; now it was her turn to double fault, to go down 15-40。 On the next point, Kenin had a wide-open look at a backhand pass; for a tantalizing second, she seemed to have made it, but instead of touching down inside the baseline, it skidded just past it—Kenin was, not for the first time, flabbergasted。 When Keys held for a 6-3, 7-5 win a minute later, Kenin smacked her racquet on the court, as Keys let out a loud roar of relief。
“I was just super nauseous,” Keys said, when asked how she was feeling. “I won’t give you the gory details.”
“I was happy to get through in two.”
极速赛车双面盘Putting Kenin’s missed opportunities aside, this was a strong survival-mode effort from Keys. She hit 10 aces and 26 winners, to just nine from Kenin, and saved those eight break points. A third set was going to be an ordeal for her, if she had even been able to play it. We’ll have to see how well she recovers; her next match, against Elina Svitolina, is a tough one—and Karolina Pliskova, Serena Williams, and Ash Barty all potentially await after that.
Judging by her clean first-set performance, though, a healthy Keys is still playing at a high level. A deep run at a Grand Slam can require a little help from your opponents along the way. Keys got what she needed tonight.
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