Sunday, 25 January 2015

Keys kicks out Kvitova in upset

For the second successive match, American Madison Keys had to negotiate her way around a left hander - this time the player was rather more highly credentialed, with 2 Wimbledons, including last years, to her credit.

Petra Kvitova did not drop a set in her first two wins this year, and was a semi finalist here in 2012, so expected to start a slight favourite even taking into account the dominant finish to Madison's second round match.

Kvitova started nervously and a double fault and forehand miss had her facing two break points.  An ace and some better ground strokes enabled her to traverse the present danger and another break point afterwards to salvage a 1-0 lead.
Apart from the ace, only 3 clean winners between the two players were hit in the first 4 games, but a number of points were decided by errors forced by attacking shots, just as effective as winners and certainly given the same value on the scoreboard that matters.

In the fifth game at 30-30 Madison Keys did in fact hit two winners in succession to bury the Kvitova serve and take the advantage in the match 3-2.  Kvitova struck back swiftly with two winners of her own from either side; these together with a double fault from Keys put the American in peril and she couldn't avoid the equalling break.

At 4-4 Kvitova imploded - a forehand mistake all her own, plus a double fault and a Madison gem placed her at 0-40 and her opponent parcelled that game up with a clean winner.
From 0-15 Keys lost no more points and used an ace to signal the end of set one 6-4.

Set two seemed to be a poison chalice for the first part that both girls wanted to give to the other such was the lack of conversion when chances presented themselves.
From 1-1 Petra lost serve in a game "highlighted" by 4 unforced errors" 3 to Kvitova.  Then the break was neutralised after Petra struck two beautiful shots, forehand then backhand to stun Madison who at 30-30 would have been thinking service hold was a fair bet.

Instead of grabbing that chance to put herself back in the frame, Petra fell 0-40, the third to a double fault.  Madison helped the recovery to 30-40 but Petra determined her own fate with a second double for the game and Keys now had a 3-2 edge.

Well Madison is nothing if not a good observer.  She copied Petra and went to 0-40, and yes the third point a double fault also.  Petra only paid back one of those break points before the games were level again at 3-3.

Common sense prevailed at this juncture, and the girls agreed that a moratorium on service breaks be instituted.  This was observed ok through to the end of game 10 with only a total of 6 points taken off the server during this period.
Then Petra insisted on breaking the agreement by being broken, unforced errors from the backhand bookending the 11th game. Keys led 6-5

Madison Keys served a perfect game to win the match, picking on Petra's backhand a couple of times forcing error, and sneaking in a clean forehand winner just for kicks.  The love game gave her the match and a fourth round berth 6-4 7-5.

The Aus Open was now without the 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th seeds going into the round of 16.

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