At the Cincinnati Open on Friday, Madison Keys defeated Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina 6-2, 6-4, setting up a semifinal matchup with Petra Kvitova after the Czech won over Australian qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic.
The 27-year-old Keys continued that momentum into the quarterfinals with a commanding win over 25th-ranked Rybakina after eliminating world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the third round.
Keys would maintain the spotless record because she and Rybakina both advanced to the final eight without losing a set.
Keys, a finalist at the 2017 US Open, said: “I knew she is a phenomenal player and she can flip it around at any point so I knew I had to try to remain out in front because at any moment she can go on a roll.”
“That, in my opinion, is one of her weaknesses. If you even hint at backing down, she gets to make decisions and boss you about.”
Rybakina, who is second on the season ace list and is one of the WTA Tour’s heavy hitters, struggled with her serve the whole match, managing just one ace while racking up four double faults.
On a humid Centre Court, Keys, the 2019 Cincinnati champion, broke Rybakina twice in the opening game to take a 4-0 lead before the Kazakhstani player was ultimately able to hold serve.
Rybakina recovered in the second to take the lead 2-0 after giving up the first-half goal.
However, Keys persisted, winning the next five games to restore the lead 5-2, and after a late hiccup, she ended the match on her fourth match point when Rybakina’s return found the back of the net.