Saturday, 23 January 2016

Madison Keys in thriller

Serbia's Ana Ivanovic (seeded 20) and Madison Keys (seeded 15) were scheduled to meet in the first night match on Rod Laver Arena on day six of the tournament.  Madison made the semi finals at last year's Aus Open and Ana was runner up in 2008.

Ana had lost both her opening matches in lead up tournaments in Auckland and Sydney so she had found form just in time.  Meanwhile Madison had been an unknown quantity with no results by which to judge.

Ana held the opening serve, including an ace.  Madison also was comfortable at the line and games were 1-1.

Despite some lovely backhands from Madison, Ana's serving and volleying was good enough to hold her second service game and lead 2-1.  The backhand of the American continued to reap dividends and 2-2 arrived.

Three unforced errors from Madison were a generous gift gladly received by Ana in game five and she hit a forehand winner to celebrate and hold serve, shifting things to 3-2.  Clean winners were hard to claim as both players were quick to the ball, but the errors being forced had the same ultimate effect and Madison forced Ana into error a number of times in game six, levelling the score at 3-3.

Winners from the American racquet put Ana in trouble in the seventh game, and she had to save a break point.  Another error forced Ana to save a second break point, four deuces were negotiated and finally the game was salvaged for Serbia.  4-3 Ana.

Madison was a lot swifter in winning her fourth game, and Ana wasted little time in reaching 5-4, placing pressure on the 15th seed to hold serve to remain in the set.

A combination of forced errors and a forehand winner were the recipe for Ana's success in the tenth game, giving her the first set 6-4.

Ana began set two holding serve comfortably before play was suspended due to her coach unfortunately requiring medical attention.

Following confirmation that he was stable and talking, play eventually resumed an hour or so later with Ana leading 1-0 and Madison to serve.

The tennis was immediately high quality and Ana produce break points which Madison saved with backhand winners.  However Ana created more chances with winners of her own and eventually did break to lead 2-0.

Madison broke back smartly delivering yet another backhand down the line winner to seal the game and games were on serve Ana leading 2-1.

Ground strokes from both players were excellent and serves held convincingly for the next two games giving Ana the edge 3-2.

At 0-30 Madison struck some good shots to give herself game point, but she double faulted and then Ana belted two forehand screamers to break the Keys serve and take a 4-2 lead.

Madison struck back, earning break points with tremendous ground strokes either setting up winners or simply just clean winners.  One of those winners clinched the break and it was back on serve 4-3 Ivanovic .

Madison was in some strife at 15-30 but hit back and the last two points were excellent, an off forehand winner and an ace.  Games were 4-4.

Time to attack the Ivanovic serve and the Keys forehand was deadly in the ninth game.  Ana had no answer as the winners came regularly and the break of serve accordingly.  Madison would now serve for a set apiece.

In a tension filled game Ana had three break points at 0-40.  These were saved with excellent work particularly from the forehand, both defensive and offensive, by Madison.  However, the game lasted seemingly forever, with Ana saving two set points and Madison saving three more break points.

Finally an unforced error from Ana assigned the set to Madison 6-4 and sets were 1-1.

Ana brushed off the disappointment by holding serve then breaking the Keys serve with her ground strokes and serve combining at a higher level than that of the latter stages of the second set.  An important hold of the next Ivanovic serve came after trailing 0-30.
3-0 to Ana and the momentum clearly had swung.

Madison held serve and then on her fifth break point broke back to leave Ana in front 3-2.  The forehand was proving more damaging than Ana's at the critical stages in the fifth game.  Who would win ? Toss up from here.

Madison had to fend off break points which seemed to be occurring more frequently in these latter stages, and she was successful bringing us to 3-3.
Ana was less fortunate and was broken, signalling another momentum shift, Madison now appearing more settled as she took the 4-3 lead with serve to come.

Madison was confident and held serve sending Ana the task of doing likewise to stay in the match.  This she did although having to survive deuce in doing so. 5-4 Madison and serving for a fourth round spot.

Surviving two double faults and wasting two match points, Madison Keys used a third match point to defeat Ana Ivanovic in three exciting and quality sets 4-6 6-4 6-4.

Ana must be given special credit for coming back to play after knowing that her coach had gone to hospital, and play at such a high level.

Madison now is the favourite to win through to the quarters as the player seeded to meet her in the fourth round, 2nd seed Simona Halep is out, and instead it will be an unseeded player to overcome.

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