Western & Southern Open: Madison Keys overcomes Elena Rybakina to reach semis

Madison Keys registered a 6-2, 6-4 win over Elena Rybakina in 1 hour and 31 minutes to reach her second Western & Southern Open semifinal, here on Friday.

The American won the biggest title of her career to date at Cincinnati 2019, and this result took her overall record at the tournament to 17-7, or 71 percent — her best by some distance among the WTA 1000 events.

With this win, Keys has now reached nine career semifinals at WTA 1000 level or above. Having also made the Australian Open last four in January, this marks the first time she has made more than one such semifinal in a single season since 2018.

It was Key’s second win over Rybakina in as many meetings for Keys. Both occurred this year, but while their Roland Garros third round was a top-quality barnburner that required a match tiebreak before Keys advanced 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(3), this encounter was rather more one-sided.

Notably, the 27-year-old Keys’ last five semifinals have all come on hard courts. The last time she made the last four of a tournament on a different surface was in capturing the 2019 Charleston title on green clay.

A total of 21 winners were struck by Keys over the course of the match, to only 11 for Rybakina. Her return of serve was particularly potent, and few of the Wimbledon champion’s second serves went unpunished. On the other hand, Rybakina committed 25 unforced errors, compared to 16 for Keys.

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