NEW YORK, NY, USA - No.8 seed Madison Keys completed Day 1 of the US Open and kicked off Day 2 all at once as the young American finished a tough first round win over Alison Riske at 1:48AM, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2.
"I'm feeling pretty good. I just looked up, and it's almost 2AM," Keys told ESPN's Pam Shriver after the match before asking the crowd, 'Who wants to go party?
"My party will probably be a protein shake and then going to sleep, but you guys can go out and celebrate for me!"
Delayed by an opening night that featured singers Phil Collins and Leslie Odom Jr., Keys suffered a slow start against her countrywoman in what was the final first round match of the bottom half of the draw. Fending off break points that would have put her back 2-5, Keys was unable to close the gap aganst Riske, who served out the opening set and promptly broke to start the second.
But Keys become one of the most consistent young talents on tour, becoming the first American to make her Top 10 debut since Serena Williams herself in 1999, and leveled the set - despite a brief medical timeout for a right shoulder injury - before forcing a tie-break.
"I didn't know I could play such great tennis after 1AM, but it had to be after 1AM, where I started playing a little bit better, so I think that was the key.
"I'm not usually a morning person, but this kind of morning, I am. 6AM, 7AM is tougher."
Riske was two points from victory late in the sudden death, but serving at 5-4, saw her lead evaporate beneath the pressure of Keys' power game. With the match leveled, the Aegon Classic champion and Rogers Cup finalist ran away with the decider, clinching a second round encounter with another American, 16-year-old wildcard Kayla Day.
"I'll do what I normally do, get my media done, try to eat some food, and then probably immediately fall asleep!"
Day is the youngest player in the draw, and has the chance for an even bigger surprise after outlasting another American, Madison Brengle, who was forced to retire from the second set of their match with a right forearm injury. Day was leading 6-2, 4-2.
"I had no idea she was injured," the wildcard said after securing her first-ever Grand Slam main draw win. "I saw something on her arm before, but I didn't really pay attention to that. A lot of players have tape."
Winner of the USTA Girls 18s Championships, Day earned a wildcard into the tournament after a solid summer that began with her reaching the semifinals at junior Wimbledon.
"There were a lot of nerves in the warm-up and first game, but after the first couple of games, I just felt really comfortable out there - happy with that. It's not always the best way to win, but I was happy with the way I was playing, and I was in control of the match.
All my life, I dreamed about playing here, so I just told myself to go out and enjoy it today, that it would a good experience, no matter the result."
Training in Calfornia, Day knows Keys well, and looks forward to the chance to play her for a spot in the third round.
"I've known Madison a long time, since I was maybe 11 years old. I've always looked up to her as the bigger, really good player. We talk when we see each other; she's has such a powerful game, and I think that's what makes her so good."
? WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) August 30, 2016