Tennis-American Keys relishing underdog status in Melbourne

  • Tennis
  • Tuesday, 25 Jan 2022

Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 25, 2022 Madison Keys of the U.S. celebrates winning her quarter final match against Czech Republic's Barbora Krejcikova REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Madison Keys said she is enjoying her underdog status after reaching her first Grand Slam semi-final in four years with an upset of fourth seed Barbora Krejcikova at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Keys continued her strong start to the season on Rod Laver Arena as she toppled the French Open champion 6-3 6-2 under the Melbourne sun to return to the semi-finals in Australia for only the second time.

The 26-year-old, who won only 11 matches in a dismal 2021 season, is on a 10-match winning streak this year and won the Adelaide International 2 warm-up tournament earlier this month.

"It's been kind of nice to be the underdog for the first time in a long time," said the American, who will take on world number one Ash Barty or compatriot Jessica Pegula for a place in the final.

"I honestly feel pretty neutral ... I have gone into every match thinking I can absolutely win any match that I'm out on the court."

Keys previously made the semi-finals in Melbourne as a 19-year-old in 2015, where she lost to eventual winner and 23-time major champion Serena Williams.

"I'm a little bit more prepared this time around than I was all those years ago," Keys said. "I would say it mostly feels different because I'm seven years older and it's not my first semi-final of a Slam.

"I think you take the experience out of it, I know I'm going to feel nervous, I know I'm going to be excited.

"But it's also a completely different situation, time and person, all of that. I think you take the experience that you have from those moments and you try to apply it, but you also know that it's going to be a completely different challenge."

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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