After edging 17-year-old Madison Keys in three sets in the quarterfinals of Sydney, Li Na has high praise for the American. Keys won five matches at the tournament, three in qualifying and two over veterans Lucie Safarova and Zheng Jie. Keys, who won the USTA Wild Card Playoff to get into the main draw of the Australian Open, is set to climb to No. 105 in the rankings next week, which should make her the youngest player in Top 100, just ahead of 16-year-old Croatian Donna Vecic, who is currently ranked No 109.
“I was shaking a little bit beginning of the match because I never play against her,” Li said. I got the information she has a big serve, but I think not like today, like 180, 190 [kilometers per hour]. She has huge, big serve…She's pretty, pretty good. I mean, if she play level like this every match, she should be soon Top 20, Top 15, Top 10.”
Keys, who went on a roll in the Challenger circuit after the U.S. Open, feels like she belongs.
“The last couple of months have given me a confidence boost and if I play my game, work hard and do my fitness, I can definitely be competitive with the top players, so it’s exciting,” Keys said.