The brackets are set for the Australian Open quarterfinals with three American women vying for the first Grand Slam. Venus Williams, 34, advanced to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2010 and will meet 19-year-old American Madison Keys, who is in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. If Venus wins she will play against her younger sister Serena in the semifinals.
Venus defeated No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 2-6, 6-1. She broke Radwanska in the seventh game of the first set and again to win the set, but her power did not carry over to the second set. Radwanska forced Venus to change her style in the second set. She even took the first game in the third set, but Williams roared back and won six straight games. She slammed an ace to seal a spot in the quarterfinals.
“I’m just really focused and poised right now,” she explained after the match. “I feel like I’ve been here before, so it’s not like I’m jumping up and down for joy, Oh, shoot, what is this? I’ve never done this. Yes, I’ve done this. This is what I’m always going into each tournament thinking I want to do, even when I fall short. It’s definitely not the first time. I guess that’s how I feel.”
The moment was sweet for Venus, who was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011.
Venus plays against up-and-coming star Madison Keys on Tuesday night. Keys demolished fellow American Madison Brengle, 6-4, 6-2, on Sunday evening. The teenager, who is coached by Lindsay Davenport, dominated and won the match in a little over an hour. The quarterfinal match is a dream come true for Keys since the Williams sisters inspired her to pick up the sport.
“I’m just really excited,” she said. “It’s a huge opportunity for me. I think Venus has helped the sport, especially the women’s side with equal prize money. She was a huge part of that. Just watching her is inspirational.”
Serena got revenge against No. 24 Garbine Muguruza, who defeated the world No. 1 in straight sets at the 2014 French Open. Muguruza glided through to a first set victory. Serena stormed back in the second and third sets, but Muguruza was not far behind. It took Williams 81 minutes to finish the match.
“She made me play a lot better,” Serena said in the on-court interview. “I had to play the best match of the tournament or else I was going to be out.”
Next up for Serena is No. 11 and 2014 Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova, who ended Victoria Azarenka’s comeback in three sets. Cibulkova broke Azarenka seven times and hit 44 winners.
“I just walked on court and all the great memories come to my mind,” she said. “I just have to believe in myself and that’s what I am doing right now. The first set I was killing her from the forehand and then she started stepping inside the court and to serve much better. I felt like I had to put in something extra and play really, really good and that’s what I did.”