NEW YORK -- No.17 Madison Keys advanced to her third US Open semifinal after defeating No.9 and Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
A finalist in 2018, Keys will face World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka on Thursday night for a spot in her second US Open final.
Keys' win over Vondrousova is her second consecutive victory over a Top 10 opponent. In the Round of 16 she dropped just four games to World No.3 Jessica Pegula. It is the first time she has notched back-to-back Top 10 wins since her run to the 2022 Australian Open semifinals.
Vondrousova had yet to progress past the Round of 16 in New York before this week. She carried an 11-match win streak at the Slams into Wednesday's first-time meeting with Keys, who was into her second consecutive major quarterfinal after reaching this stage at Wimbledon.
It's all semifinal smiles from Madison Keys! pic.twitter.com/QL6bJbdP8l— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 7, 2023
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Keys dominated the first set in 39 minutes after building a 5-0 lead and saving all three break points she faced. Keys overpowered Vondrousova from the baseline and did well with her frequent and strategic forays into the net to keep Vondrousova under pressure.
"I'm always trying to play maybe longer balls and today I felt like I was under so much pressure from the first point," Vondrousova said. "Yeah, there wasn't so much to do, honestly. It was very tough.
"Even on my serve, when I put second serve I was under very much pressure."
Keen to keep the points as short as possible to snuff out Vondrousova's crafty point construction, Keys eased through the clean opening set. Only eight rallies lasted more than five shots, with Keys limiting the rally length to an average of 3.27 shots.
"I have been really focusing on the serve," Keys said. "It's funny, Bjorn [Fratangelo, Keys' fiance] has been wanting me to go after it more so he said if I hit a 121 I get anything I want. I hit a 119 tonight so I was so close.
"No, honestly, it's just I feel like I've just been trying to pick my spots and be really smart with it. I think these courts, for the most part, are kind of taking the ball pretty well. So there is really no immediate need to overdo things."
6 - Madison Keys is in her sixth Grand Slam semi-final. Only five active players have reached more than Keys – Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Petra Kvitova and her next opponent, Aryna Sabalenka. Symmetry.#USOpen #USOpen2023 | @usopen @WTA @WTA_insider pic.twitter.com/Nf06auvm0O— OptaAce (@OptaAce) September 7, 2023
Having felt out Keys' game in their first-time meeting, Vondrousova fared better in the second set. But the reigning Wimbledon champion will rue her missed opportunities. She earned nine break points in the match but failed to convert one, including six opportunities in the second set.
"I played some good points [on break points]," Vondrousova said. "It wasn't enough. She was serving extremely well, I think. She put many first serves on the breakpoints, so I think from her side it was so good on the serve.
"Yeah, was just trying to find a way. Just all credits to her today."
Keys earned her final break at 4-4 in the second set and served out the victory on her third match point.