US Open 2017 Fourth Round Preview: Elina Svitolina vs Madison Keys

Elina Svitolina will face Madison Keys to book a spot into the 2017 US Open quarterfinals. Both Svitolina and Keys are playing inspired tennis so far; who can keep up that level and make a deep run at the last Grand Slam of the year?

[4] Elina Svitolina (No.4)

Svitolina’s route to this stage

R1: d. Katerina Siniakova, 6-0 6-7(5) 6-3

R2: d. Evgeniya Rodina, 6-4 6-4

R3: d. Shelby Rogers, 6-4 7-5

Elina Svitolina in New York City has been all about gritting through her matches and staying clutch at the important moments. Coming into the US Open, Svitolina had a chance for the No.1 ranking and some would have thought she would have no chance today as she is historically known for not performing well in the Slams, having only reached two quarterfinals (both at the French Open). However, she has been so steady in the big moments in matches and the first one was against Katerina Siniakova in the first round. Leading by a set and in a second set tiebreak, all the momentum was with Svitolina but a rain delay forced them to continue their match the next day. Siniakova then fired out of the blocks, leaving Svitolina stunned and an upset alert was on the cards. However, Svitolina steadied the ship and started to dictate points with her forehand and won the last six of seven games.

Something like this happened again with Shelby Rogers in the third round, where Rogers saved match points and leveled at 5-5 in the second set. Svitolina resetted and won the last two games with some awesome defense. If she continues this positive mentality and continue to inject some aggression in her matches, Svitolina is a true contender for the title…

[15] Madison Keys (No.16)

Keys’ route to this stage

R1: d. Elise Mertens, 6-3 7-6(6)

R2: d. Tatjana Maria, 6-3 6-4

R3: d. Elena Vesnina, 2-6 6-4 6-1

‘Night warrior’ Madison Keys is just loving to play in US, apparently. She has won her last nine out of ten matches here, including a title in Stanford, beating Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza enroute. Keys has continued to fire out of the blocks in her matches, first edging past Elise Mertens in a tight two-setter where she stayed clutch during the important moments. She handled the variety of Tatjana Maria well, and finished her third round match against Elena Vesnina at 1.48 a.m. Although she was misifiring in the beginning, Keys started finding her range in the last two sets, playing tactically well too as she broke down the Vesnina forehand. Keys adds this match into the record books as the second latest match to be finished at the US Open. So who holds the top spot in this record? No prizes for guessing, it’s Madison Keys again…

Head to head: Keys won their only previous encounter in a retirement from Svitolina in New Haven.

Stat: Keys generally doesn’t compete well against counter-punchers. She has an 0-2 record against Caroline Wozniacki, 1-5 against Simona Halep, 1-6 deficit against Angelique Kerber and 1-5 against Agnieszka Radwanska…

Thoughts: As said above in the stat, Keys really struggles against players like Svitolina as they always are able to get one more ball back into play, making Keys go for bigger targets which results in more errors. Keys will probably have to play one of her best matches ever to get past Svitolina who will never ever give up to retrieve those balls. The faster courts in NYC will help Keys, but I feel it’s going to be a good match-up for Svitolina who can redirect the pace and start dictating play of her own. If the Ukranian doesn’t go back to her shell and stay clutch during those important points, I think she can win this…

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