Madison Keys turned the lights off on Petra Kvitova at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, taking out the No.5 seed in straight sets while Timea Babos outlasts Venus Williams in three sets.
WTA Staff

ROME, Italy - Madison Keys employed thoughtful aggression under the lights of Center Court, pulling off a 6-3, 6-4 upset of No.5 seed Petra Kvitova to advance to the third round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

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"I definitely didn't want to start down 2-0 right off the bat," Keys said of her initially slow start. "But I was able to recover from that, build some momentum and keep it going."

Hitting eight aces in the 78 minute match, Keys maintained an even winner/unforced error differential against Kvitova, who had enjoyed a strong start to her clay court campaign with a run to the semifinals of the Porsche Grand Prix. The Czech star hit nine fewer winners compared with the American youngster (11 to 20) and six more errors (27 to 21), only managing to engineer one break point in the contest.

Keys, by contrast, broke serve  three times and maintained an impeccable 85% first serve percentage.

"It's definitely more love than hate now," the 21-year-old said of her relationship with clay. "The first couple of years were very difficult for me; I never really played on red clay growing up. I think every year is a little more experience, and I'm feeling more comfortable."

Up next for the unseeded American is Hungary's Timea Babos, who outlasted No.12 seed Venus Williams, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-4, in just under three hours.

"I've played her on grass, and I think I got my butt kicked,' Keys laughed. "So hopefully, it'll be a little bit better for me next time. I haven't really seen her play in the last couple of years, so I'll definitely rely on my coach to help me figure that out."

Babos led by a double break to start the match; by the final set, the 23-year-old thrice recovered from a break of serve - hitting 32 winners to 43 unforced errors during the two hour, 55 minute affair - to unseat the 35-year-old, who hit 48 winners to 56 unforced errors.

"I'm really happy to win," she said after the match. "Venus is one of the biggest players in history and it's the first time I've ever played her, so I just tried to think of my tennis and not about who was on the other side of the net.

"I started well, but then was a little more shaky, but I was fighting until the last moment."