American Madison Keys is into the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. She came back from behind to defeat sixteen-year-old qualifier Mirra Andreeva 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-2.
Keys got off to a quick start, leading 2-love. Then the momentum shifted with Andreeva hitting punishing down-the line backhands, forehand swinging volley winners, a deft drop shot, a perfect topspin lob. She took Keys out of her game by serving into the body and not giving her the setup shot.
Keys was only able to win one more game in the set, and she got down 4-1 in the second set.
Then she changed her tactics. She started coming to the net. She cut down on the unforced errors. And her inside-out forehand, her favorite shot, began to click. She hit an incredible lefty forehand, switching hands for a short cross winner for the break. She hit a piercing inside-out winner and a powerful serve to hold for 4-all.
In the tiebreaker, Keys got up 3-love, but Andreeva was able to come back, leveling things at 4-all. Keys then snuck in with a forehand volley winner, hit an excellent slice to change the pace, and a fantastic serve to take the set. Andreeva looked frustrated and let her racquet go. She got a warning from the umpire.
In the third set, like the first, Keys got the early break and was up 2-love. She continued serving well, hitting forehand winners, and coming to the net.
At the end of the match, Andreeva slipped and lost her racquet, and the umpire thought she threw it, and she got a point penalty.
In her press conference, Andreeva said of the incident: “For me it’s a controversial point because I’m not sure if—I don’t know which decision was right. She’s the umpire. She’s the one who makes the decision.
“But, honestly, I didn’t have any intention to throw the racquet. I slid. Honestly, I thought that I will fall forward.
“Maybe it did look like I threw the racquet. I don’t know. I didn’t see any videos yet. But that was her decision to make, so she made this decision. Now that’s it. She made the decision, so the match is over now.”
Andreeva didn’t shake the umpire’s hand. She said: “I mean, yes, because for me, she didn’t do a right decision for me. Yes, that’s why I didn’t want to shake hands to her.”
Andreeva did say that the first warning she deserved. “I threw the racquet, and it’s a grass. After that I lost the set. I led in the score a lot. I was a bit frustrated. So that’s why I threw the racquet.”
In her press conference, Keys said: “I felt like once I started getting a little bit of momentum in that second set, I think I cleaned things up pretty well. After that, it was pretty straightforward.”
Keys said of Andreeva: “She’s sixteen, she’s very free, going to play some of her best tennis. You go in knowing there’s going to be moments where she’s playing incredibly well. Obviously, she’s been playing well to get this far.
“Then there’s also it’s tough being on the other side of the net of a sixteen-year-old who is really playing with nothing to lose and you’re the one that’s supposed to beat her. That’s always a difficult position to be in.
“I think she’s a really great player on top of all of that. All in all, it was a tricky match.”
Keys said of her lefty forehand winner that gave her the break back. “Like I have a pretty good lefty forehand. Just how the ball was coming, it was just easier to hit that that way.”
Keys said of changing her game plan in the second set: “I just figured I’d start charging the net and see what happened. It’s a bit of reminder to me. I kind of always forget I’m not bad at the net, and I should probably get up there more often.
“I mean, honestly, I thought just try to throw her off of her game a little bit, try to get up to the net. Then it started working, so I figured I’d just keep doing it.”
Next up for Keys is the second seed Aryna Sabalenka.