It was late Monday night when Madison Keys won a difficult match against her Ukrainian opponent, Elena Svitolina. In doing so, Keys became the fourth American to win entry into the U.S. Open women's quarterfinals. The victory was also memorable because it marks the first time in 15 years that four American women will advance out of the opening rounds.
Keys was ranked as the 15th seed entering Monday night's match, and her battle with Svitolina saw her carving out her victory over three sets that went 7-6 (2), 1-6, and 6-4. In the final set of the night, Keys' hopes of victory sometimes seemed to dim. She fell behind 4-2 before winning four straight games to claim victory in the match. This also marked the first time that Keys would be entering the quarterfinals in her career.
She joined Coco Vandeweghe as part of the American contingent that will be competing in the next stage of competition. Vandeweghe defeated the unseeded Lucie Safarova earlier that evening in two straight sets that went 6-4 and 7-6 (2) in her favor. It was Vandeweghe's first U.S. Open fourth round. Now, Keys and Vandeweghe will be competing alongside Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens as the Americans continue their march through the U.S. Open.
Not since 2002 have there been at least four Americans in the quarterfinals when the United States was represented by Venus and Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati, and Monica Seles. That year, Venus Williams made her return to the U.S. Open as the defending champion but was defeated by her sister Serena. Capriati and Seles fell in the quarterfinals, while Davenport made it into the semifinals.
This year, all four Americans have the chance to make it into the semifinals since none of them will be playing the other in the next phase of the tournament. On the face of things, Keys seems to have the easier path to the semifinals. Her opponent, Estonian player Kaia Kanepi, has struggled with plantar fasciitis throughout the year and had limited playing time. Vandeweghe, on the other hand, will be facing the top ranked Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic. The quarterfinals are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
[Featured Image by Kathy Willens/AP Images]