MELBOURNE, Australia - No.10 seed Madison Keys overpowered Daria Kasatkina in an impressive 57-minute victory to move into the second round of the Australian Open, 6-3, 6-1.
Keys came in to the year’s first Grand Slam on a tear, fresh from a run to the final in Brisbane. American ripped through the draw, taking down the likes of Danielle Collins and Petra Kvitova before falling to Karolina Pliskova in a battling three-set clash.
She continued her fine form on Melbourne Arena, where she blasted 29 winners past Kasatkina and served up four aces to advance.
“I felt really good out there,” she admitted following a match postponed from Monday. “Having a delayed start for the first round helped. I could play really solid tennis. To be able to get in and get out quickly and drama free was the perfect setup.”
It was her seventh successive victory over Kasatkina, which she believes is due to their contrast in styles.
“I think it’s a bad matchup for her. She’s so good at taking pace off, using drop shots and spins, and I take time away. I think it takes her out of her game. She’s so talented and has so many weapons,” the American explained.
Keys was in control of the match from the start, her big groundstrokes booming as she took an early break to lead 2-0. Kasatkina, a former Top 10 player, was right back in it, breaking straight back - but wasn’t able to stop Keys a second time as the American’s aggressive returning earned her another lead at 3-1.
The Russian avoided going down a double break, holding for 4-2 chasing down every ball and doing her best to hang with the 2017 US Open finalist. Kasatkina broke back once again to get them back on serve at 4-3, looking like she had finally started to settle into the contest. But Keys again replied immediately, and reestablished her lead at 5-3 before serving out the opening set, saving two more break points in the process.
The American raised her level considerably in the second set, swinging freely and striking winners off both wings, her powerful serve keeping her in control of the rallies. After Kasatkina held to start the set, Keys reeled off the next six games in a row in a dominant display of aggression, crushing a huge forehand to put an end to the contest in just 57 minutes.
With the victory, Keys wins her 21st consecutive Grand Slam first-round match, extending her impressive career record to 27-4.
Up next, Keys awaits Arantxa Rus in the second round after she defeated Magda Linette.