Melbourne (AFP) – US Open finalist Madison Keys says she’s happy not to be “the drama” after racing almost unnoticed into the second week of the Australian Open.
Keys continued her serene progress through the Australian Open draw with a 6-3, 6-4 cruise past unseeded Ana Bogdan on Saturday.
And while she was talking to reporters following her win, top seed Simona Halep was having to save three match points in a epic near four-hour battle past unseeded Lauren Davis.
Three days ago second seed Caroline Wozniacki had to come from 5-1 and two match points down to somehow scrape through against unheralded Jana Fett.
Other top women taking the headlines suits the 17th seed fine, who was under the spotlight throughout her run to the final of her home Grand Slam last year, when she lost to Sloane Stephens.
“I am always happy if I’m not the drama, and I feel like US Open I was the drama every night match that I played,” Keys said.
“So it’s a good position for me to be in, and I’m enjoying it,” added the American, who made the semis at Melbourne Park in 2015 and has not dropped a set so far this year.
“I definitely feel way more comfortable than a couple of years ago in this position, but it also still feels like new and exciting. It’s what we all work for. So a mix of comfortable but also very excited.”
On Saturday she breezed past the plucky Romanian, ranked 104, in 73 minutes in their third-round match on Margaret Court Arena.
“I feel good about it. Had a tough match today, so I’m really happy that I played well and got through that. Ana played great today and made me play my best tennis,” Keys said.
She had only dropped seven games going into Saturday’s match, taking just 41 minutes to get past Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-0, 6-1 in the second round and must now be rated one of the favourites going into the second week.
“I’m pretty happy with (the first week). I think overall I was playing really well and pretty smart,” said Keys.
Coached by former great Lindsay Davenport, she next faces French eighth seed Caroline Garcia in the last 16.
“Lindsay is amazing. We’ve had three years together and she has taught me how to handle big moments like this,” said Keys, who is reaping the benefits of an extended off season to rest a troublesome wrist.
“I finished the US Open and I was exhausted,” she said.
“The combination of that and having a wrist that still wasn’t 100 percent perfect, I just needed to kind of shut it down, calm down.
“Then I was really excited to start the new season.”