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Madison Keys vs Lesia Tsurenko Bank of the West Classic tennis live: Keys tries to boost injury-hit season with WTA Stanford semifinal

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 4 Aug 2017
  • Third seed Madison Keys faces Lesia Tsurenko in the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic on Friday
  • Keys vs Tsurenko Bank of the West Classic tennis is live from Stanford at 4pm local/12am BST
Madison Keys (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Madison Keys looks to make the first semifinal of her injury-decimated 2017 season as she takes on Lesia Tsurenko in the Bank of the West Classic quarterfinals on Friday. 



It’s been a tough season for Madison Keys – can the American boost her confidence by making her first semifinal of 2017 at the Bank of the West Classic on Friday, and maintain her perfect record against Acapulco champion Lesia Tsurenko to boot?

This time last year, Keys was ranked world no. 12 after claiming the title at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and finishing runner-up to Serena Williams at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, and would climb to a career-high world no. 7 after another runner-up finish at a Premier-5 event in Montreal, semifinal appearances in Beijing and Linz and making her debut at the WTA Finals Singapore as one of the elite eight qualifiers for the season-ending championships. 

But it all quickly went wrong for Keys, who at 22 years old is the bright hope of the future of American tennis after the Williams sisters retire. She had to undergo left wrist surgery and missed the first two months of the season, including the Australian Open where she is a former semifinalist. She made the third round at Indian Wells when she returned, but was troubled by a shoulder injury in Miami and lost in the second round to Lara Arruabarrena before losing her first matches in Charleston, Madrid and Rome. Defeated in the second round of the French Open by Petra Martic after leading by a set, Keys underwent a second surgery on her left wrist to remove some scar tissue and release a trapped nerve and although she managed to be fit (more or less) for Wimbledon, she lost in the second round to Camila Giorgi despite saving four match points in the second set. 

All of it adds up to Keys having slid out of the top 20 to world no. 21, a 6-7 win-loss record on the season and a lot of frustration for the powerful American. Now reunited with former coach Lindsay Davenport, Keys will be desperately hoping that she can get something going on American hard courts with a lot more points threatening to drop off her ranking by the end of the year if she can’t. 

Making her third appearance at the Bank of the West Classic, Keys had to undergo more adversity as she faced qualifier Caroline Dolehide in her opening match. The world no. 212, a college player and surprise qualifier who had shocked Naomi Osaka in the first round, got off to a bright start and Keys struggled to find her rhythm, dropping the first set before regrouping and coming back to win in three, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.


‘I always think it's really hard when you're playing someone who's had three matches and it's your first match,’ Keys said afterwards. 

‘I just had to start making balls to find my rhythm, and once I did that, I feel like everything slowly clicked and I could start going for more of my shots. I was definitely going for way too much, way too soon... I regrouped, took a step back, and gave myself a little bit more time.’

Going for too much, too soon has always been Keys’s instinctive response to any challenge and it’s good that she managed to arrest her downwards momentum, although the result also had a lot to do with the inexperienced Dolehide’s level dropping. The American can’t necessarily count on being able to get away with a slow and error-prone start when she faces Lesia Tsurenko on Friday.

Tsurenko progressed to the quarterfinals via a walkover from Maria Sharapova, who pulled out of their second-round match due to an arm injury, and a 6-3, 6-3 win over the quietly improving Lara Arruabarrena. Playing the Bank of the West Classic for the first time, Tsurenko comes in ranked world no. 32 – not far off her career high of world no. 29, which she achieved just a few weeks ago. 

It’s been a strong 12 months for the Ukrainian player, who made the round of 16 at the US Open and won the second title of her career in Guangzhou last autumn. Tsurenko’s solid results have continued in 2017, which she began by making the semifinals of the Hobart International, although she was unable to oust world no. 1 Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Australian Open despite taking a set. Tsurenko picked up her third International-level career title in Acapulco in February, beating Jelena Ostapenko, Australian Open semifinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (via retirement) and Kristina Mladenovic to claim the trophy – wins that look even better in retrospect. 

Tsurenko had little joy on clay, although she did beat Ekaterina Makarova in the second round of the French Open after Makarova had beaten Kerber in the first, but she is much more comfortable on grass where she made the semifinals of the Ricoh Open and the third round of Wimbledon before losing to the in-form Magdalena Rybarikova.

Tsurenko and Keys have met twice before, with Keys winning both matches – a tight three-setter on grass in Birmingham in 2013, settled in a third-set tie break, and a more comfortable 6-3, 7-5 victory for Keys at the Australian Open in 2015. Tsurenko’s facility with slice is an obvious source of discomfort for the tall American, and she will have to be much more patient, clued-in and tactically savvy than she was against the big-hitting Dolehide in order to book a place in the Bank of the West Classic semifinals on Friday. 

Keys vs Tsurenko is scheduled on Stadium Court in Stanford on Friday at 4pm local/12am BST


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Madison Keys vs Lesia Tsurenko Bank of the West Classic tennis live: Keys tries to boost injury-hit season with WTA Stanford semifinal

Madison Keys is out to make her first WTA semifinal of 2017 in Stanford as she takes on Acapulco champion Lesia Tsurenko: Bank of the West Classic tennis live from Stanford

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