Fine Swine: Australian Open Day 8

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Madison Keys
She may have had the easier quarterfinal match-up of the Americans left, but Keys made sure there was little doubt would win Madison Mania as she swept aside Madison Brengle; 6-2, 6-4. Keys broke Brengle to open the match and never looked back in the first set. She didn’t hand out any break opportunities as Keys won 15/16 1st serve points and was only forced to go to a 2nd serve four times in the set. She had 16 winners to just one for Brengle in the set. The 2nd set looked like it too was going to be a runaway for Keys as she broke Brengle for the third time in the match in game three. Keys took a 2-1 lead, but Brengle battled back with a break on the 5th opporrtunity she saw to even it at 2-2. Service holds were easier the next few games as the set ran out to 4-4. Keys then stuck the dagger in as she broke and then served out the match for her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. The difference between the Madisons was easy to see on this day with Keys whipping in 38 winners to just three for Brengle. Aggression and power propelled Keys to the next step on her journey.

Venus Williams
The 34-year old continued a magical start to the season with an upset of 6th seeded Aga Radwanska 6-3, 2-6, 6-1. Venus is now 9-0 on the season after running to the Auckland title and working to her first Slam quarterfinal since the 2010 U.S. Open. There was little drama through the first six games of this clash, but game seven set up as an epic one. 15 minutes. 12 deuces. Six break chances for Venus on the Radwanska serve. It was fun to watch and finally on that 6th chance, Venus broke through and would remain strong as she again broke Radwanska to finish off the set. Venus saw ten break chances in the openning set, while allowing none to Radwanksa as her 20 winners and stout serve gave her the lead.

Radwanksa would respond though with a quick 2nd set She turned the tables, pressuring Venus’ serve in the opening game. Venus would save three BPs though and hold. That was a sign of things to come though as Radwanska wasted no time in the next Venus’s service game to secure a break and then one more for good measure. It looked like Venus was tiring. The 3rd set looked bleak early as Radwankska broke Venus to start, but Venus showed her resiliency with a break back. She steadied herself on serve to go up 2-1 and then took control as she looked re-energized and sprinted to a 3-1 lead. She would fend off a break point to go up 4-1 and it was all over from there. An ace sealed the deal for a 6-1 set win. Much like her younger counterpart Madison Keys, whom she will battle in the QFs, Venus won with more aggression – 43 winners to Radwanska’s 23. Yes the errors were high with 36, but the ability to pressure Radwanksa on-serve (15 break opps) and to hit those timely winners put you into the Way Back Machine for another night with “Vintage” Venus.

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