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Charleston WTA Ladies Night Tennis • Madison Keys Wins In Three Sets

Photo by @VolvoCarOpen via Twitter



I headed over to the stadium tonite to catch the second set of Madison Keys against Lara Arruabarrena. The twenty-six year-old Spaniard has good ball control, an average serve and is coming off her best year on tour. Keys, a pure ball striker, is coached by Lindsay Davenport and plays big-hitting first-strike tennis. In the first set, using her forehand, Keys battered the Spaniard who made nine unforced errors and gave herself no chance to compete. 6-1 Madison.


The Spaniard started off the second with a hold and then broke Keys. Keys immediately raised her level and broke back, but Lara continued to pressure the American. She broke again with deep returns and Keys tossed in a few more errors to help the cause. Again, Keys’ raised her level and broke back. The Spaniard displayed conviction in her game and broke a third time to go up 5-3. Finally, Keys relented and gave up the set. In the third, Keys regained control of her big forehand and dictated play until the 6-3 victory was assured.


The second set though is instructive. After dropping the first set, Arruabarrena changed her tactics. She hit bigger, added more depth, and played more aggressive tennis. The shift took Keys out of her offensive game and forced her to play defense. Arruabarrena’s ability to change her style is what now makes her a threat on tour – adding the offensive dimension is how Nadal went from top five to number one – and she appeared comfortable doing so. Even against the top ten players, a shift from defense to offense can prove effective. It takes time for players to adjust and adapt.


Unfortunately for the Spaniard, Keys adapted. Madison has several untapped gears and it is a rare opponent who can outhit her. As long as she is moving well, Keys has a shot against most players. In the third set, she accepted the offensive challenge and responded with good defense and a quick transition back to offense. Under Coach Davenport’s tutelage, Keys is playing big and consistent tennis, making her a threat at any event.


Lesson: Learning to dictate play with power and depth can help raise the level of your game. However, the more important lesson is to be adaptable. Being able to play high or low, up the middle or with the angles, with more pace or less pace, with more spin or less spin, closer to the baseline or further back, and a hundred other variations, can prove disruptive to all types of opponents. The goal is to have the biggest toolbox to store your weapons so you are ready for all scenarios. Tonight, Arruabarrena brought out a mallet and Keys responded with a sledgehammer. If you are going to construct a new game plan, make sure you have the better tools.

M. Keys (USA) d. L. Arruabarrena (ESP) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3


Main Draw Singles

Main Draw Doubles

Order Of Play

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