Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Aussie Open Day 10 highlights: Keys edges Venus

Madison Keys, then 18, practices during the 2013
Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. In her only
appearance in the tournament, she upset No. 8 seed
Magdalena Rybarikova in the first round before losing
to qualifier Vera Dushevina. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Upset of the day -- Madison Keys' storybook tournament continued while Venus Williams' ended. In a battle of American generations, the unseeded Keys overcame a thigh injury to outlast the 18th-seeded Williams 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 today at Melbourne Park and reach her first Grand Slam semifinal.
   Keys, 19, had her left thigh taped at 1-4 (two service breaks) in the second set against Williams, 34. The same injury caused Keys to retire from a third-round match against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan at Wimbledon last year.
   Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disease, in 2011. She was trying to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal since the 2010 U.S. Open and become the oldest female semifinalist in a major since Billie Jean King (39) at Wimbledon in 1983.
   Keys has only one day rather than the customary two to recover for the semifinals.
   Match of the day -- A one-sided match suddenly became a thriller as defending champion Stan Wawrinka subdued 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the quarterfinals.   
   The fourth-seeded Wawrinka bolted to leads of 5-0 and 6-1 in the tiebreaker but blew all five match points. At 6-6, the fifth-seeded Nishikori attempted a risky drop shot that hit the tape and fell back. Wawrinka finally ended the match with an ace down the middle to avenge a five-set loss to Nishikori in the quarterfinals of last year's U.S. Open.
   Notable -- Serena Williams reached the Australian Open semifinals for the first time since winning the last of her five titles at Melbourne Park in 2010. The top seed, playing with a chest cold, routed 11th seed and 2014 runner-up Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2.  
   Top seed Novak Djokovic tamed hard-serving Milos Raonic, seeded eighth, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals. Djokovic, 27, seeks his fifth Australian Open title.
   In junior girls singles, No. 14 seed Katie Swan of Great Britain surprised No. 1 Shilin Xu of China 6-2, 6-2 in the third round.
   Men's semifinal matchups (seedings in parentheses) -- No. 6 Andy Murray vs. No. 7 Tomas Berdych. Berdych leads the head-to-head series 6-4.
   No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 4 Wawrinka. Djokovic leads the series 16-3. The veterans will meet in the Australian Open for the third straight year, each time one round later. The first two encounters were marathons. Djokovic prevailed 12-10 in the fifth set in 5 hours, 2 minutes in the fourth round in 2013, and Wawrinka triumphed 9-7 in the fifth in 4 hours in last year's quarterfinals to snap a 14-match losing streak to the Serb.
   Women's semifinal matchups -- No. 2 Maria Sharapova vs. No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova. Sharapova leads the series 5-0.
   No. 1 Serena Williams vs. Keys (first meeting).
   Stars and stripes -- The United States has two women in the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since the Williams sisters at Wimbledon in 2009. Three American women reached the quarterfinals of a Slam for the first time since the 2004 U.S. Open (Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport and Serena Williams). Davenport now coaches Keys.
   Third-seeded Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area and 11th-seeded Raveena Kingsley of Fulton, Md., advanced to the junior boys and girls quarterfinals, respectively.
   Third-seeded Michael Mmoh of Temple Hills, Md., and Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia moved into the boys doubles semifinals. 
   Northern California connection -- Serena Williams and Cibulkova have combined to win the last four titles in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. Williams triumphed in 2011, 2012 and 2014, and Cibulkova in 2013 (when Williams did not play in the tournament). Cibulkova lost to 15-year-old CiCi Bellis of Atherton, near Stanford, in the first round of last year's U.S. Open.
   Sameer Kumar, a Carmel, Ind., resident who will enroll at Stanford next year, lost to sixth-seeded Duck Hee Lee of South Korea 2-6, 6-0, 7-5 in the third round of junior boys singles. 
   Fast facts -- Wawrinka improved to 9-0 while Venus Williams fell to 9-1 this year. Both won Australian Open tuneup tournaments, Wawrinka in Chennai and Williams in Auckland.
   Quote -- Wawrinka: "Phew."

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