Teenager Madison Keys defeated the player whose dress inspired her as a child to be a tennis player, Venus Williams, in the Australian Open quarter finals on Wednesday to set up a semi-final clash with the other Williams sister, Serena.
The unseeded African-American (she is bi-racial) overcame a leg injury to beat Venus, playing in her first Grand Slam quarter final for five years, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to continue her dream run. Keys is bidding to become only the fourth player and first fellow American to defeat both Williams sisters in a Grand Slam tournament.
Trailing 4-1 in the second set, Keys needed a medical timeout to receive treatment on her left thigh. It seemed to do the trick, as she then came back and broke Venus’ serve twice to even the score at 4-all. But a resurgent Venus had some fight left in her, as she answered with her own break and served out the set.
In the third, Venus jumped out to a 3-1 lead, seemingly in control of the match. But Keys again rallied back. She earned three straight breaks to close out the win. Overall, Keys had 34 winners and 45 unforced errors; Venus had 10 winners and 38 unforced errors.
“It’s amazing, you just have to embrace the moment,” Keys said after the match. “And I get to enjoy another moment next round.”
To advance to her first Grand Slam final, Keys, whose career high ranking is World No. 27 six months ago, will have to beat the current World No. 1, who advanced to the next round with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Dominika Cibulkova. Serena is seeking a record (in the Open Era) sixth Australian Open title and a 19th Grand Slam title which would put her ahead of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert and level with Helen Wills Moody from the pre-Open Era as the American woman with the most Grand Slams. She has won the title in Melbourne each time she advanced to the semi-finals.
Discounting Margaret Court, who won more than half of her 24 Slams in the Amateur Era, only Steffi Graf, with 22, has won tennis’s for major tournaments more times than Serena, who has also had to give best to sister Venus in two finals.