Ashleigh Barty is still in with a chance of the World No.2 spot after this fortnight but must win her first grand slam to do so. The first of the three matches she needs to win to achieve that is against Madison Keys, who will be looking to at least match her semi final of 2018.
There would have been very few shouts for Madison Keys when it came to naming your French Open contenders but the the American has a knack of peaking at the slams in both fitness and form, even if she has yet to get over the line in one just yet. She has gone about her business quietly, making the quarter finals after beating Katerina Siniakova, who was fresh off a win over Naomi Osaka. It was a fairly decisive performance in the 6-2 6-4 win, with Keys breaking her opponent five times. “It’s always a special and stressful experience every single time,” she said when questioned if going deep in majors is starting to feel routine having made the last eight on a fairly regular basis recently. “I’m happy that I’ve gotten through to fourth rounds and quarterfinals now a couple times now. But it never, never feels routine.”
Barty was troubled a bit more in her most recent match, needing 3 sets to see off Sofia Kenin. She quickly turned the match around after losing the second set, breaking immediately and never looking back in the deciding set of her 6-3 3-6 6-0 win. She is a model of consistency on the tour and is now the only player to have made the quarter finals of both slams so far, putting some of her success down to the consistent routine her and her team employ. “Obviously’s there’s a little bit more talk around and a little bit more attention,” Barty said, on what’s different as you go further into the tournament. “But for me, nothing changes. Very much we go through the exact same process after a match. Whether it’s a win or a loss, it’s the same recovery, same everything. I think that’s probably what I’ve been doing best over the last 12 to 18 months. And it’s put me in better positions. I’m in these positions now because I’m doing that better.”
“It’s going to be a tough one, I think she’s obviously playing well to make quarterfinals, and I didn’t get to see how she played today, but I feel like clay actually suits her game really well with her kick serve and slice and all that.” Keys said on the matchup. While Keys won their only matchup on clay, she was outplayed in Fed Cup action earlier this year.
Prediction – Madison Keys in straight sets