Tennis-Keys sweeps into Cincinnati semis with win over Rybakina

By Thomson Reuters Aug 19, 2022 | 12:59 PM

(Reuters) – Madison Keys swept past Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 6-2 6-4 on Friday and into the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Open.

After dispatching world number one Iga Swiatek in the third round, the 27-year-old American carried that momentum into the quarter-finals with a dominating win over 25th-ranked Rybakina.

Keys, winner of the Cincinnati title in 2019, will now await the winner of Australian qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic and Czech Petra Kvitova for a place in Sunday’s final.

Both Keys and Rybakina had reached the quarter-finals without dropping a set and it would the American keeping the unblemished record.

“I knew she is a remarkable player and she can turn it around at any moment so I knew I had to try to stay out in front because at any moment she can go on a roll,” said Keys, finalist at the 2017 U.S. Open. “I think that is kind of the key against her. If you back off at all then she gets to dictate and run you around.”

One of the WTA Tour’s big-hitters, ranking number two on the season ace list, Rybakina struggled with her serve the entire match, hitting just one ace while piling up four double faults.

In the first contest on a muggy Centre Court, Keys got out to a flying start, breaking Rybakina twice on the way to a 4-0 lead before the Kazakhstan player was finally able to hold serve.

After surrendering the opener Rybakina rallied in the second with an early break to jump out in front 2-0.

But Keys dug in, sweeping the next five games to retake control 5-2 and after a late wobble closed out the contest on her fourth match point when Rybakina hit her return into the net.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Hugh Lawson)