While all eyes will deservedly be on Serena Williams, the clash between Madison Keys and Coco Gauff is definitely one to watch. Both players have been seen as the future of US tennis and the next big thing set to follow in Serena and Venus’ footsteps. As of now, both women have made one grand slam final although time is still on Gauff’s side for now.
Keys remains difficult to predict, with fitness and inconsistency always issues for the 27 year-old. She has been enjoying the faster courts here though, taking advantage to pick up wins against other big hitters in Camila Giorgi and Dayana Yastremska. The serve was key to her second round win against Giorgi, helping her saving 12/16 break points.
Gauff has been able to ease through to the third round, dealing with two weak opponents with not too much drama. Elena Ruse was the second to fall in straight sets to the 18 year-old, although Gauff did have to save set points in the second prior to victory. One thing she will need to build on though is her serve. She hit 8 double faults in the 6-2 7-6 win, something that could be costly against better opponents. “Regarding the pressure, I learned in my life that you just have to accept it, you can’t ignore it,” she said. “It’s going to be there. You feel it. Everybody else feels it for you. So instead of trying to say, ‘I’m not nervous,’ I’m saying, ‘I am nervous, I do feel pressure, I do feel this.’
Keys edged their only meeting so far, winning a tight three setter at the start of the year in Adelaide. Every so often, she is capable of a deep run at slams regardless of any form before. With a matchup against a player she knows she can outhit, the 20th seed may feel confident of pulling off the win here. Gauff is no longer just here as the next big thing and now needs to get to grips with the expectations placed on her now as likely a long term Top 10 player.
Prediction – Madison Keys in three sets