MELBOURNE, Australia - No.17 seed Madison Keys cruised past Ana Bogdan to power into the second week of the Australian Open in commanding fashion.
After missing last year’s Australian swing due to wrist surgery, Keys needed just over an hour to make her way back into the fourth round in Melbourne with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Bogdan.
“I'm pretty happy with my week so far,” Keys told press afterwards. “I think overall I was playing really well and pretty smart. I feel good about it. Had a tough match today, so I'm really happy that I played well and got through that.”
One of two American-Romanian encounters headlining Day 6, the No.20-ranked Keys is the highest American left in the draw after a series of opening-round shocks knocked out her fellow 2017 US Open semifinalists Venus Williams, CoCo Vandeweghe and Sloane Stephens.
By contrast, her opponent Bogdan is experiencing a Grand Slam breakthrough in Melbourne, with this third round being her best ever result at a Slam. Ranked No.104, the Romanian was one of five players at this stage ranked outside the Top 100, along with Denisa Allertova, Marta Kostyuk, Luksika Kumkhum and Bernarda Pera.
Though Bogdan played well above her ranking to keep pace with the 2017 US Open finalist, she wasn’t able to contend against Key’s bruising serve. Keys - who hasn’t been broken since the first round - faced just three break points all match long but didn’t let Bogdan convert, firing off six aces and winning 78% of points behind her powerful first serve.
Keys needed just one break of serve in each set to put away the encounter. She kept the Romanian under pressure throughout, punishing every second serve and short ball and bringing up break points early in the set. She finally broke through at 5-3, before calmly serving out the opener.
She carried the momentum into the second set, breaking in the third game to get her nose in front early. With Keys serving for the match, Bogdan finally found her first break point opportunities of the match as the American’s serve wobbled toward the latter half of the set. But it was too little too late as Keys got right back on track and closed out the match after an hour 14 minutes.
With the victory, Keys goes on to face the winner between No.8 seed Caroline Garcia and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who are both vying for their first fourth-round at the Australian Open.
“I definitely feel way more comfortable than a couple of years ago in this position,” she said of reaching the fourth round again. “It also still feels like new and exciting. It's what we all work for. [I feel] comfortable but also very excited.”