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Keys Rallies Past Qualifier Andreeva Into Wimbledon Quarterfinals

Madison Keys of the United States in action against Mirra Andreeva in the fourth round during Day Eight of The Championships Wimbledon 2023 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 09, 2023 in London, England Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images

Wimbledon—Booming power propelled Madison Keys to the best grass-court run of her career.

Calm creativity helped carry Keys into the Wimbledon quarterfinals today.

Rallying from a one-set, 1-4 deficit, a calm Keys unleashed a lefty forehand winner to help ignite her comeback.

The 25th-seeded Keys conquered 16-year-old qualifier Mirra Andreeva 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 on No. 2 Court to advance to the last eight for the first time since 2015.

It is Keys’ ninth career Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Keys will play either Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka or 21st-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova for a spot in her first Wimbledon semifinal.

It was Keys’ ninth consecutive grass-court win and came nine days after she defeated Daria Kasatkina to win Eastbourne without surrendering a set.

In fact, Keys had swept all 16 grass-court sets she’s played this season until Andreeva turned the tide for a set-and-a-half today.

Facing an 0-2 hole, Andreeva began carving up Keys with her ball control and that backhand down the line reeling off nine of the next 10 games snatching a one-set lead and taking leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in the second set. 

Bidding to become the seventh qualifier to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals and youngest since compatriot Anna Kournikova in 1997, Andreeva moved gracefully and blistered some backhands down the line building her lead.

The teenager was playing cleaner tennis and enjoying the support of many in the No. 2 Court. Andreeva, who played through qualifying to reach the Roland Garros third round last month, stings the ball bigger than her 5’7″ size suggests.

Seven games into the second set, Keys delivered a higher level.

Fending off a break point, Keys held for 2-4.

In the seventh game, Keys channeled her inner Maria Sharapova pulling off a running left-handed forehand pass to stun Andreeva and break back in the seventh game of the second set.  Keys won 12 of the last 14 points played on her serve to force the second-set tiebreaker.

Deadlocked at 4-4, Keys crushed a crackling forehand and followed it forward to knock off a forehand volley. 

Digging in, Keys Keys’ jolting strikes combined with the teenager’s untimely petulance proved pivotal as the American won the final three points of the breaker to force a final set.

An edge in experience was evident as Keys saved two break points holding to open the decider then saw Andreeva gift wrap the break netting her third double fault as the American went up 2-0.

Twice today, the chair umpire incorrectly overruled on Keys’ winning shots. The first was an ace the second game in the fifth game when the chair ruled a Keys’ shot, called good by the linesperson, long. Keys challenged and won though the chair umpire ruled for a replay. Shrugging it off, Keys held for 4-1.

Across the net, as pressure mounted, Andreeva was rushing through serve points with Keys holding her hand up in the air a few times to slow the teenager down.

Andreeva tossed her Wilson racquet after losing the second-set tiebreaker for a code violation warning and in the final game was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct point penalty for again losing her racquet though she argued it slipped out of her hand chasing a shot in the final game. That argument did not sway the chair umpire.

That second transgression handed Keys a match point and she seized it closing in two hours, three minutes. 

Despite a terrific Wimbledon run, an annoyed Andreeva declined to shake the chair umpire’s had afterward and departed quickly without a wave to the appreciative crowd.

Still, this superb Wimbledon run vaults Andreeva to a new career-high ranking of No. 64 in the live rankings and as she matures and learns to control her emotions better on court surely the best is yet to come for the teenager.

Meanwhile, Keys, the first American to win her first three grass-court finals since Hall of Famer Billie Jean King in 1968, targets her first career Wimbledon semifinal. If the 2017 US Open finalist makes it, Keys will have contested all four Grand Slam semifinals.