On Tuesday, Madison Keys showed the composure and relentlessness of a champion in her first-round matchup against Gabine Muguruza in Cincinnati. The American rallied past Muguruza, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-4 in a marathon that had to feel like déjà vu; they faced off in the first round of Cincinnati last year, with Keys winning in three sets.
The American entered the Western & Southern Open this week having lost two consecutive first-round matches, and it was clear she didn't want a third. The world No. 18 was frustrated by Muguruza's consistency, which led to early unforced errors, but she didn't let the ups-and-downs deter her from winning.
At 1-0 in the first set, Keys nearly broke Muguruza right out the gate when she rallied her way up to a 40-0 lead, but Muguruza fought her way back to hold and stop the American's early rhythm. The world No. 28-ranked Spaniard relied on getting one more ball back every point, which flustered Keys and led to her attempting to end points too soon, and spraying unforced errors.
The two exchanged tiebreak sets with Keys letting out a huge "Come on!" to force a deciding frame. It seemed as if Keys would have the momentum entering into the final set, but Muguruza broke the American right away. The 25-year-old Keys improved her level of play during the most crucial points and stemmed her flow of errors.
She ran away with the final few games, and will face the winner of Barbora Strycova vs. Daria Kasatkina.