At a rainy Flushing Meadows, Madison Keys meeting with China’s Zhu Lin happened to be the only remaining match that wasn’t washed out Wednesday afternoon.
As eager fans poured into Louis Armstrong Stadium, the 24-year-old American didn’t disappoint.
Keys captured her eighth straight victory, earning a bid into the third round of the U.S. Open for the fifth straight year with a 6-4, 6-1 rout.
“Very happy that we have two covered stadiums now and I was scheduled on one of them,” Keys said after the match with a smile. “I guess I kind of just knew that the stadium was probably a little bit more full than if all the other matches were going on. But with that stadium it’s hard to tell if there’s anything else going on.”
The No. 10 seed struggled in the first set after a slow start, with Lin converting two-of-three break-point opportunities and catching Keys out of sorts to go up 3-1. Keys committed 12 unforced errors in the first four games, but cleaned it up with just three more for the remainder of the set.
“I was able to watch some of her first round, I knew she was going to be a really good returner and get a lot of balls back,” Keys said. “I knew things were going to come pretty fast and low, so I was expecting that. I just had to be really prepared and just know that a ton of balls were going to come back.”
Lin was dominant at the net and strong on the backhand from early on in the first set, but couldn’t carry over her strengths into the second. Once the Illinois native found her footing, Lin was on her heels and struggled to keep up.
Keys, who lost in the 2017 U.S Open final to fellow American Sloan Stephens, is fresh off her fifth career title after defeating Russian wild card Sventlana Kuznetsova in the Western & Southern Open. Lin was 0-6 coming into this year’s Open before she defeated Wang Xinyu in the first round.
The last time Keys rode this kind of winning streak was in 2016, when she won her second career title at the Birmingham Classic and went on to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon.
“I think I maybe started a little bit slow and I think some of that was just getting used to [Lin] and how she was playing,” Keys said. “But I feel like after I got broken in the first set, I feel like I played some really good tennis and was really happy with my performance today.”
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