Not only was a place in the quarter finals at stake in New York but also a meeting with Venus Williams something that hasn’t happened between Serena and Venus at the US Open since 2008!
The talk recently has been about the Serena serve and in particular the ball toss but any early nerves were quickly put away with a good hold of serve from the world number one. Keys followed up with a good hold of serve for 1-1 despite an early double fault. Something that was evident early on was Keys going after the Serena second serve something I didn’t think she took to well in Australia and got the reward forcing an error but Serena held serve again as did Madison for 2-2. After 6 games the match was level at 3-3 with Keys looking very confident and her forehand causing Serena the most damage in the opening stages of the match.
At 4-3 Serena broke the serve of Keys after some errors f and then the world number one in pursuit of the calendar Grand Slam served out the set for 6-3.
Keys had a big fight on her hands in the first game of the second set having to save break point which she did with some great power from the back of the court forcing errors from Serena. A break of serve did look on the cards but again Keys saved break points to maintain her lead on serve in the second set at 2-1. After a couple of break points for Serena which she couldn’t convert just like the first set they were equal at three games each after six games in the second set.
After the seventh game Serena found herself ahead in the match breaking the Keys serve for 4-3 and would serve for a 5-3 lead. 4-3 quickly became 5-3 and Serena was a game away from the quarter finals for the 8th year running where Serena has played the tournament. Serena didn’t have to worry about serving out the match as she broke the Keys serve again to take the match 6-3 6-3 and set up a meeting with Venus Williams!
It was a truly magnificent performance from Serena. She served well and played with a great intensity and at such a high level throughout the match. Credit to Keys, 6-3 6-3 may sound routine for Serena but Keys can be proud of her efforts but just didn’t have enough to beat the very best today.