TC Plus Match of the Day: Venus Williams vs. Madison Keys, Cincinnati

TC Plus Match of the Day: Venus Williams vs. Madison Keys, Cincinnati

Both Americans have started slow this summer, but are finding their footing at the Western & Southern Open.

When Madison Keys gets hot, she can hit any player off the court. After a rocky start to her summer hard-court season, losing in the first round of both Washington D.C. and Toronto, Keys appears to have found the range on her imposing groundstrokes in Cincinnati.

The 24-year-old defeated Garbine Muguruza in a tough first round, dispatched Daria Kasatkina in straight sets, and on Thursday, snapped a five-match losing streak against recent Wimbledon champion Simona Halep. 

Her quarterfinal opponent, Venus Williams, has gone through a similar phase, losing in the first round at three successive tournaments before hitting her stride just in time for the US Open. Venus dropped down to No. 65 in this week's rankings but can return to the Top 50 with a win Friday.

The two have not faced off since 2016, when Keys took their third-round clash in Montreal. (Getty Images.)

Their head to head is split 2-2 and while both possess incredible firepower, Venus uses it strategically and sparingly. On the contrary, Keys remains in constant attack mode, sometimes to her detriment. The serve will likely prove to be the deciding factor in this all-American battle: both players rely on free points earned from their service firepower. 

If Keys can tighten the screws and limit her unforced error count, she may wear down the 39-year-old, who has played two tough three-setters in her last two matches—taking out defending champion Kiki Bertens and Croatia's Donna Vekic. This match could certainly go either way, but in the end, Venus will emerge victorious to reach her first semifinal of the season.