Keys Crashes Out in Tears; Serena v Maria Tuesday at Australian Open
by Staff | January 25th, 2016, 9:17 am

Darkhorse title contender Victoria Azarenka continued her march through the Australian Open field on Monday, taking down unseeded Czech Barbora Strycova 6-2, 6-4 to book a quarterfinal meeting with No. 7 seed Angie Kerber.
“Maybe next year, we’ll play in the quarters!” Azarenka laughed on-court after the match. This year Azarenka beat Strycova in the fourth round after meeting in Melbourne in the third round in 2015 and the second round in 2014.

Strycova played big, hitting eight more winners than Azarenka over the match, but was undone by 33 unforced errors.

“She’s such a tough opponent, and I’m just so happy that I went through,” Azarenka said. “I played smart, aggressively, took my opportunities and I really kept my composure.”

Azarenka had her own question when being interviewed on court after the match — had her favorite Denver Broncos beat the New England in the NFL playoffs?

“Yes!” she said. “I was so nervous the whole morning. I didn’t watch because I didn’t want to know the results. I’m a crazy sports fanatic so I understand you guys.”

Azarenka will take a 6-0 career head-to-head lead into her quarterfinal match against Kerber, who she beat in the Brisbane final earlier this month. Kerber saw off German Annika Beck in ruthless fashion 6-4, 6-0.

“We always have such amazing battles,” Azarenka said. “She’s such a fighter and an amazing person off the court, as well. I just want to make sure we show some good tennis, enjoy myself and do my best.”

The night ended in theatrics past midnight in Melbourne as No. 15-seeded American Madison Keys lost in tears, attempting to fight through the pain of a hip/leg injury but eventually falling to Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

When asked by the media how she felt after the match, Shuai said, “Tired.”

“It’s so tough to play against someone injury because, yeah, when I’m saw her like feel more pain,” said the qualifier, who added she almost quit the game in frustration to open a coffee bar. “You know, so tough. Maybe two point you feeling like cannot play, and then next three balls, pong, pong, pong, make two ace, one winner. So, so tough. You don’t know what’s happen. And also last year this happen many times. I’m almost win the match. I lost. I lost the concentrate. But this time I think I try to concentrate. So I’m happy I win the match.”

Shuai’s quarterfinal will be an all-unseeded affair when she meets Brit Johanna Konta, who outlasted No. 21 Ekaterina Makarova 4-6, 6-4, 8-6.

“Oh my God, it’s finished,” Konta said in her on-court interview after becoming the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal in 32 years. “I’m just incredibly happy and humbled with the way I competed today. That’s the thing I’m most happy about. The fact that it is the Australian Open and it was the fourth round, that’s pretty cool. I’m just really happy with how I was able to handle things and to keep trekking on.”

Konta and Shuai are 1-1 in their career head-to-head, but have not faced each other since 2013.

Quarterfinal matches on Tuesday in Melbourne will be (4) Agnieszka Radwanska vs. (10) Carla Suarez Navarro, and the blockbuster (1) Serena Williams vs. (5) Maria Sharapova.

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10 Comments for Keys Crashes Out in Tears; Serena v Maria Tuesday at Australian Open

RZ Says:

Well done to all the quarter-finalists. Looking forward to seeing Azarenka vs. Kerber.

Special congrats to Johanna Konta. Hopefully she can motivate Heather Watson and (an uninjured) Laura Robson to up their games.

Margot Says:

Shame about Keys, really like her. She just couldn’t control her backhand because of her injury.
Good to see Kerber, I like her too.
Indeedy RZ Go Jo!

BBB Says:

Keys is injured a lot, paricularly with muscle strains. I wonder if it’s a training issue, or if she’s just one of those unlucky athletes whose body breaks down.

I’m not sure it’s fair to characterize her loss as “crashing out” given the injury, but all due credit to Shuai.

Gypsy Gal Says:

CSN v Aga should be a cracker both play a beautiful brand of tennis….

Gypsy Gal Says:

Really hope Konta can keep this run going,love how shes relishing the challenge….

Chrisford1 Says:

This is slowly becoming about Olympic selections. Laura Robson hasn’t played in 2 years and is ranked in the 700s. The 2012 Olympic silver medalist will not be around for this one, I think.

The Americans have some bad news waiting for a few women. You can fairly easily see who the men will be in doubles and singles – not the women. Keys and Serena are pretty obvious. But after that, it’s a crapshoot. Mattek-Sands is a top 5 ranked doubles player and has played mixed doubles with a Bryan Bro.
Sloane, Venus, McHale, Riske, Brengle all possibles (just one most likely) depending on how they fare after the Australian Open up to OLympic Committee selection date which I think is June 8th or July 8. And a player I liked and thought could fare very well in the post-Sistas era, Jaimie Hampton, hasn’t played in 2 years.

RZ Says:

@Chris Ford – Laura definitely won’t be able to play the Olympics, but there’s a good chance that both Konta and Watson get to go. If Andy chooses to play mixed doubles, my guess is that he’d play with Watson as they have played together in Hopman Cup.

Mattek-Sands is going to lose some ranking points after losing early in ladies doubles. But she’s still the best U.S. women’s doubles player outside the Williams sisters. Hopefully she’ll get to go.

MMT Says:

BBB – while I think she is unlucky, I also feel that her stroke production is inefficient, causing strain that leads to injuries. Here is a link to the differences between the ATP and WTA forehands (for lack of a better descriptor):

It’s a long video, but it is a very precise description of the differences between the way those strokes are produces, and also where specific strains are placed. You’ll note that Keys’ forehand is a classic WTA forehand.

I should point out that her serve is VERY well produced, and one of the things she doesn’t better than almost anyone on tour. The kinetic sequence on her serves is really effective, which accounts for the power and the spin on her serves. She does over-rotate slightly, but not nearly as much as the other players on the WTA, and the effect on the serve is telling.

Wog Boy Says:

I am looking forward for that match too, but I don’t think Kerber is looking forward, she is yet to beat Azarenka..

BBB Says:

MMT – Many thanks for that! It’s particularly interesting for me because in both golf and tennis, if I’m struggling with my strokes, my first step is to shorten the backswing (just to simplify, not because I’ve done any kind of sophisticated analysis….)

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