American Madison Keys claimed a marathon 6-2 6-7(5) 7-5 win over compatriot Bernarda Pera to advance to the semi-finals of the Charleston Open on Friday, keeping her dreams of a maiden title at the Family Circle Tennis Center alive.
Keys, who was a finalist in Charleston three years ago, struggled at times against the tactics of the left-handed Pera, who worked to keep the ball away from her opponent’s powerful forehand during the 134-minute contest.
However, Keys was able to rely on her biggest weapon, her punishing serve, to keep the pressure on Pera, winning 72 percent of her first service points on a sun-soaked day in South Carolina.
“I had to be proud of what I did on the court today,” said Keys, a finalist at last year’s U.S. Open. “And I knew if I didn’t leave it all out there, I would have been really mad at myself later.”
The seventh-seeded Keys will face Kiki Bertens, who overcame leg pain to dispatch France’s Alize Cornet 6-2 7-5 in their evening quarter-finals match.
Leading 5-4 in the second set, the Dutch 12th seed called for a trainer to come out to help stretch her left leg, which she had reached for several times in the previous game.
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