MELBOURNE: Former Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport’s protege Madison Keys won her all-American clash with Madison Brengle in straight sets on Monday to cruise into the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Unseeded world number 35 Keys downed Brengle 6-2, 6-4 to set up a last eight clash with either fellow American Venus Williams, seeded 18, or Polish sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
The 19-year-old, who upset fourth seed Petra Kvitova in the third round, started working with Davenport last year and said she felt her game had matured in the off season.
“I think I’ve matured a little bit and just got my game together a little bit more. It’s kind of just come together,” she said.
Keys has long been touted as the rising star of American tennis and 18-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, the top seed at Melbourne Park,” said she was thrilled to see the teenager fulfilling her potential.
“She’s a great girl, she has such a great spirit about her,” Williams said. “She does everything really well. She just has so much unbelievable potential and she’s so young. It’s so good to see her doing so well.”
Keys admitted it was difficult facing world number 64 Brengle, a close friend who she keeps in constant contact with, including sending each other jokes about sharing the same first name.
“It’s always hard playing a friend, it makes it a little bit more of a challenge but I wanted to come out and play well and I’m in the quarters,” she said.
Keys started strongly with a game-plan slightly tweaked from her earlier rounds, going to the net instead of simply relying on powerful strokes from the baseline.
She raced through the first set in just 23 minutes and scored an early break in the second before Brengle responded with a break of her own.
By then it was too late and the main obstacle Keys faced were her nerves when she brought up three match points.
She wasted the first with a double fault, hit her forehand long on the second but finally sealed the win when Brengle netted her return on the third. (AFP)