The great match-ups just keep on coming as the number four seed, Elina Svitolina faces her toughest test yet against the number 15 seed, Madison Keys. The pair will meet in a fourth round blockbuster match-up on Monday in last 16 action at the US Open. Both players are seeking to reach their first ever quarter-final at the US Open.
Svitolina has had a challenging draw to contend with – she needed three sets to get past a dangerous, Katerina Siniakova in the first round and then fended off a late and valiant charge from Shelby Rogers in the third round, advancing with a 6-3 7-5 victory. Rogers broke Svitolina when she was serving for the match with some big winners, saving three match points in the process. Svitolina stayed in the present and managed to get the job done in straight sets, winning on match point with a dead net cord.
Keys faced her toughest match of the tournament on Saturday night/Sunday morning, recovering from a slow start to beat a fading, Elena Vesnina, 2-6 6-4 6-1. In a match that finished at 01:46am local time, Keys took some time to find her range. After sneaking out the second set, the American played a fine third set, not facing a break point against an albeit crumbling, Vesnina. The Russian player netted a string of forehands as Keys kept things steady, battling well from the baseline and hitting seven winners to six unforced errors in the final set.
Head-to-head record: In their only previous match, Keys beat Svitolina in New Haven by retirement, leading 7-6(4) 4-2.
Interesting stat: Svitolina is into the second week of the US Open for the first time in her career. For Keys, it is the third time in a row that she has reached the last 16 – she’s yet to break through into a quarter-final.
Final thoughts: When the draw came out, I was really hoping we’d get this match-up – i’m thrilled to see both players make it! Pre-tournament I tentatively went for Keys, yet now i’ve probably swung back to Svitolina. Keys has the raw power to outhit Svitolina yet she’ll need to play a very solid match to keep it up for two sets. Keys did not have much success against the counter-punchers in 2016 although she seems to be in a much better place this year, both physically and mentally. Svitolina is oozing confidence and going after her shots with more conviction than ever before. Her ability to reset after disappointments have made her one of the toughest competitors on the WTA tour.