Two unseeded Americans who haven’t had the best start to 2021 met in Rome in the Round 64.They met recently in Charleston, South Carolina of which Sloane came up trumps. This time Madison got the better of her compatriot and here is how she did it. Picking up play in the first set Keys went 3-0 up but Stephens roared back. Stephens’s shots were not all that powerful but it was the placement. Watch 1-3 to Keys, Stephens up 15-0.The backhand forced Keys wide to the left out of court opening the court for the easy backhand winner. Failure to follow up a great serve can cost you. Keys on this point serves well and has Stephens on the ropes. Watch 3-2 to Keys with Stephens up two break points 40-15. Stephens would win the set 6-4.
In the second set , Madison’s net play was superb and instrumental in her turning the match around. Watch 2-2 in the second first point. Keys is backpaddling to make the overhead at the net which is a difficult skill to master and it requires adjusting your footwork appropriately. She would go on to take the second set 6-2. In the third, Madison started rather shakily missing some routine shots of which she was made to pay by Sloane. Keys was able to claw her way back into the set, dominating the net like she did in the second. Watch 3-3 with point on deuce. Although her volley failed to go over the net, she did the basics right in the build up. She only had to hit the ball right in the middle of the racquet instead she hit with the rim thus point lost. Madison won the set and match 7-5 in a match with break points galore, a total of 32 of which only 14 were converted by both players combined.