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Keys Books Date With Radwanska

Madison Keys produced a devastating serving display to defeat Mona Barthel and book a third round meeting with No.4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

Published June 27, 2013 12:02

Keys Books Date With Radwanska
Madison Keys, Mona Barthel

LONDON, England - She may not consider herself a grass court specialist just yet, but Madison Keys is rapidly carving out a reputation as the dark horse at this year's Wimbledon Championships.

At 18, Keys is the youngest player left in the draw, but there has been a quiet assurance to her performances in the first week. On Thursday, she produced a near-flawless display of serving to swat aside No.30 seed Mona Barthel, 64 62.

"I wouldn't say I'm a specialist on it just yet, but I definitely like it," Keys said. "It was all about the serve today - a couple games got a little bit close, but I was able to pull out a serve or two to get me back in the game.

"She's also a great server, so I definitely think who could get the break kind of determined who won the match. I just like how big serves and big forehands are rewarded. I think it's just different than other surfaces."

It was guile, rather than brute force, however, that produced the solitary break in the first set, Keys ending a baseline exchange by wrong-footing Barthel with a short, curling forehand.

Aside from a slight wobble when serving for the first set - steadied by a couple more booming deliveries - Barthel scarcely got a look in on the Keys serve, a pattern that continued into the second set. And with the pressure building, Barthel buckled, ceding her serve once again in the face of a series of blistering baseline winners.

With the finishing line now in sight, there was no let-up, Keys securing an insurance break before wrapping up the win after exactly an hour with yet another dominant serving game.

In the end, Keys wound up winning 37 of 48 points on her serve, although, as effortless as it seemed, Keys revealed it has not always been this way.

"When I first started serving, I had horrible technique," Keys admitted in her post-match press conference. "It was just an awful grip. It was not very good - kind of the pancake serve!

"The key was a lot of practice! Hundreds of balls. I think I enjoyed like the first half of the basket, and then like the other hundred balls that were left in there, I didn't like it so much!"

Next up for Keys is No.4 seed and last year's runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, who enjoyed a straightforward 61 63 win over Mathilde Johansson.

The only complication for Radwanska came from the British weather. Leading 61 42, the match had to be delayed for three quarters of an hour as the Centre Court roof was closed.

On the resumption, the Pole quickly rattled off the required two games to progress to the last 32 for the seventh time in eight visits to south-west London.

"It's always great to be back on Centre Court," Radwanska said. "It's always a special atmosphere and always brings back some good memories.

"You know, time flies! It feels like it was two weeks ago I was playing Serena in the final. It was great last year and I'm always happy to play on that court."

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