20-year-old American Madison Keys is eager to claim the US Open championship just as much as Serena Williams is. Of course their reasons differ, but the goal is the same. Although Williams’ bid for the Grand Slam would make for a more compelling story line – arguably of course.
The pair – Keys and Williams – meet in the fourth round showdown later this evening in Arthur Ashe Stadium. That’s Sunday sport booked for those wondering what to do with their evening.
Keys is confident and strong-minded. When asked what she thought if she was to be “remembered as the villain” in Williams’ “fairy tale,” she just shrugged and said:
“What am I going to say? ‘I want her to beat me?’ I mean, yeah, I want to go out and I want to win. I mean, obviously it’s a big story: She’s won four (major titles) in a row and she’s going for the calendar-year (Slam). That’s great, but at the same time I want to win. So I’d be OK with beating her, yeah”.
Number 1 seed Williams has won all 24 Grand Slam matches she’s played in 2015, and needs four more victories to become the first tennis player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win the sport’s four most prestigious tournaments in the same season. Williams also won last year’s U.S. Open, so her winning streak at majors is 31 matches.
The American acknowledges there is pressure to make history. “I mean, of course it’s there. I’m not a robot or anything, but at the end of the day I’m just here to do the best I can. If that means I win, then great. But if it doesn’t, then you know what? I can’t let that affect me”, the 33-year-old said.
The up-coming match is not the first time the pair has met. Williams played Keys once before, beating her in straight sets in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January. Their games are similar, both based on huge serves and powerful ground-strokes.
By the time Williams heads out on court to face Keys, she will know whether the winner’s quarterfinal opponent will be her older sister or Annet Kontaveit. While Venus is 35, a former No. 1, and the owner of seven major singles titles, Kontaveit is a 19-year-old qualifier from Estonia who is ranked 152nd and hadn’t won a Grand Slam match until Monday.