The 16th ranked WTA player, Madison Keys has been doing well the last few tournaments with going through the round of 16 at the U.S. Open and then capturing the Western and Southern title at Cincinnati. She has wiped out Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Venus Williams and Sofia Kenin to win the title.
She didn't stop and also defeated her present opponent Daria Kasatkina too. The meeting history of these two showed it to be all Keys at 5-0 so it's understandable that the Russian's chances of winning were probable but not statistic-wise likely.
Madison Keys dismantled Daria Kasatkina again for the straight sixth time at the Toray Pan in Osaka 6-3, 6-4. At the opening set the 3-all score had Keys ready with blasting forehands that scored big time leaving Kasatkina struggling on returns.
After Keys led 4-3, it was all Madison as she hit small and large targets, winning on most returns to get the first set 6-3. Despite having over a dozen unforced errors, her dictating shots made up for her faults. The start of the second set her opponent had to take a medical time out for a massage treatment on her shoulder near the rotator cuff.
Keys had the first set and was none the weary as she powered a sharp cornered return soon after landing on court. She continued her feisty play knowing that now Kasatkina's shoulder may compromise some points of the match.
But was the Cincinnati title holder taking it for granted with her opponent's medical break? Keys let up off the gas a bit and got the result of the Russian's good shot selections but soon snapped back with her great plays.
The beautiful day in Osaka blended in with Keys' strategies. She started back playing with great confidence, a continuum of what she'd did at the Cincinnati Masters on winning her 4th career title. Kasatkina led in the second set 2-1 and started making a dent into Keys' game as she gathered another lead of 3-1.
She had brutually returned the strongest of Keys' shots and chipped away at the American's game. She did what she had to do and it worked. Keys felt the heat and started playing smarter tennis as her pink dress blew in the wind upon a rocket serve.
The Russian no longer led and with the break Keys dropped her racket across the bench, sitting back contemplating her next move. Madison snapped back into gear and brought the games leveled now at 4-all. She no longer chose to be passive and started dictating shot after shot.
A cross court volley scored for Keys and soon it was over at 6-4 she closing out the set and winning her 6th straight match win head-to-head over the Russian. The last point was dramatic for Keys didn't do very much but a stinging serve which Kasatkina mis-hit and the ball flew into the stands.
"I love coming to Japan...I started off a little slow, but glad I got the win," Madison Keys gave a big grin. She was grateful for her first round victory at the Toray Pan Open and if she continues her performances like this, she'll possibly be victorious here at Osaka too.