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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, April 30, 2024


Blown out for a set, Madison Keys pulled off an inspired 0-6, 7-5, 6-1 comeback conquest of Ons Jabeur to reach her first Madrid semifinal.

Photo credit: Robert Prange/Getty

Shutout for eight games, Madison Keys refused to press the panic button.

Instead, Keys plugged into internal power source and turned obliteration into exhilaration.

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Dropping eight straight games at the start, Keys roared through seven straight games near the finish to pull off an inspired 0-6, 7-5, 6-1 comeback conquest of Ons Jabeur in a Mutua Madrid Open stunner.

The 20th-ranked Keys has competed with resilience scoring her second straight Top 10 comeback win to reach her maiden Madrid semifinal.

Former Charleston champion Keys will take on world No. 1 Iga Swiatek for a spot in the final.

The top-seeded Swiatek surrendered a set for the first time in the tournament then rolled through 12 of the final 14 games in a 4-6, 6-0, 6-2 comeback win over Beatriz Haddad Maia to charge into the Mutua Madrid Open semifinals for the second straight year.

Keys fought off world No. 3 Coco Gauff 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 in a two-and-a-half hour fourth-round win and looked a bit flat today as a red-hot Jabeur was playing off the front font.

The 2022 Madrid champion Jabeur played exceedingly clean combinations and varied her speeds and spins utterly befuddling the hard-hitting American for nearly a set-and-a-half.

Jabeur dished out a bagel in a 6-0, 6-4 win over 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko in the fourth round and dispensed the opening set bagel today.

Playing shrewd angles, Jabeur was up 6-0, 2-0 when Keys finally cracked the scoreboard stamping a love hold and earning a sympathetic cheer from Madrid fans.

That hold relaxed Keys who broke for the first time to level at 2-all and spark her roll reversal.

Two essential elements to Keys’ comeback:

Keys was swinging faster unleashing her explosive power on both serve and forehand. Jabeur, who committed fewer than 10 unforced errors in the opener, began littering the red clay with errors and started losing longer rallies.

Navigating a tricky deuce hold for a 6-5 lead, Keys won six of the final seven points breaking Jabeur at 15 to take the second set and force a decider.

As winners were flowing from Keys’ Wilson racquet, Jabeur was struggling to keep the ball between the lines.

Keys broke to start the third set bursting out to a 5-0 lead in the decider.

Yesterday, Keys told Tennis Channel's Prakash Amritraj she'd switched from her long-time Wilson Blade racquet with an 18 x 20 string pattern to a more open Blade string pattern of 16 x 19 in an effort to alleviate some strain off her cranky service shoulder.

In the final set today, Keys was so sharp on serve she probably could have closed it wielding a ping-pong paddle. Keys served 75 percent and won 16 of 20 points played on her serve in the third set.  

Keys won 12 of 15 points played on her serve in the last set scoring her third Top 20 victory of this tournament and one of the most impressive clay-court comebacks of her career.


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