First down, then up, Kudermetova beats Keys to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinalBy May 30, 2022
Alexander Zverev has surgery to repair torn ligaments in ankleBy Jun 07, 2022
Long after he had nothing left to prove, Rafael Nadal showcased mastery of the clay-court chess match yet again to make it 14 for 14 in Roland Garros finalsBy Jun 05, 2022
The eternal now of Rafael Nadal: A journey of endurance, patience, and suffering for the Roland Garros titleBy Jun 05, 2022
Rafael Nadal wins record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title with incomparable 14th final-round victory at Roland GarrosBy Jun 05, 2022
Preview: Will Rafael Nadal move to 14-0 in Roland Garros championships against first-time major finalist Casper Ruud?By Jun 04, 2022
"She's always hitting winners": Six months after trusting her talent like never before, Iga Swiatek is the one setting new standards in ground-stroke prowessBy Jun 04, 2022
Coco Gauff's Paris education continues after Roland Garros final defeat to Iga SwiatekBy Jun 04, 2022
Flawless Iga Swiatek sweeps to Roland Garros title, conquers Coco Gauff in finalBy Jun 04, 2022
Casper Ruud beat Marin Cilic at Roland Garros by channeling the man he’ll play in his first major final: Rafael NadalBy Jun 03, 2022
First down, then up, Kudermetova beats Keys to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal
The experienced American cruised in the opening set, but once Kudermetova shook off the early jitters she rapidly asserted herself to complete a 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 comeback at Roland Garros.
Published May 30, 2022
WATCH: Veronika Kudermetova defeats Madison Keys in the 2022 Roland Garros fourth round
As Monday’s round of 16 match between 29th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova and 22nd-seeded Madison Keys got underway at Roland Garros, experience appeared the telling factor.
While Kudermetova had reached this stage of a major for the first time, Keys had previously played 16 fourth-round matches. So it was Keys that began thoroughly in control, taking a brisk 28 minutes to capture the first set, 6-1.
But Keys’ momentum hardly mattered. As Kudermetova’s early jitters vanished, she rapidly asserted herself. By the time it was over, the 25-year-old Russian had won 1-6, 6-3, 6-1—a highly rare score line that suggests minimal competitive tension.
Better yet, call it a two-part mini-series, each with its own star. “I tried to trust myself, to believe,” said Kudermetova.
Keys has always dazzled with power, most notably with her forehand and serve. But in the first set, what impressed even more was Keys’ movement. Patrolling the court superbly, she repeatedly overwhelmed Kudermetova. There also came flashes of raw firepower. With Kudermetova serving at 1-4, 30-30, the American hit two straight untouchable down-the-line returns—one forehand, one backhand. In the next game, on her first set point, Keys feathered a drop shot. Keys’ thorough command of the court was reminiscent of her January run to the Australian Open semis. This was big-time tennis, Keys one set away from reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros for the third time.
The second set went in the opposite direction. This time, Kudermetova was the one who sprinted, taking a 3-0 lead, serving for the set at 5-3, 40-love. But Keys dug in. Not until set point number seven was Kudermetova able to close out the set. Amid such tenacity from Keys, the thinking was that this might bode well for a dramatic third set.
It was not to be. In the first game of the decider, Keys took a 40-love lead. A double-fault on the next point hardly seemed to matter—until it eventually did, Keys dropping that game.
Once again, as she had in the second set, Kudermetova grabbed the reins, winning nine of eleven points to go up 2-0—an effort aided by Keys lining two returns into the net. In the next game, Keys held a game point, only to hit a forehand long and be broken by a Kudermetova backhand return winner.
“Sometimes I tried to play harder, sometimes with the spin, a little smarter,” said Kudermetova.
Kudermetova had adjusted wisely to Keys’ serve, frequently altering her return position to handle Keys’ kick in the ad court. It was a remarkable sight to see Keys broken four times in the third set. Down 1-5, 30-30, Keys hit a backhand long, then a forehand long.
Clay appears to suit Kudermetova. Her lone WTA singles title came on the surface, last year in Charleston. And a month ago, she reached the finals at a clay court tournament in Istanbul.
Next up she’ll play her fellow Russian, the stylistically eclectic Daria Kasatkina. Their only previous match came last year in St. Petersburg, with Kasatkina winning by a score similar to the way Kudermetova won today, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2.