What a title can do for a player! It's obvious that after Madison Keys won her title at the Western and Southern in Cincinnati, she elevated her game and worked on consistency to move over her opponents. "When she's on, she's really dangerous," says Commentator Jill Craybas.
Keys' first challenge at Beijing was the Czech player Karolina Muchova who won a title at Seoul recently defeating Magda Linette. This was Keys and the Czech's first encounter in their career. Keys' first time at Beijing was three years ago whereas Muchova is making her debut appearance.
Keys had a slower start than her no. 37 opponent. She might have a slight twinch from last week as Keys doesn't want to remember her retirement due to a foot ailment into the third set with Angelique Kerber at the Japan Open.
Muchova wasn't about to waste time and quickly climbed to a 3-1 lead rattling Keys' rhythm and self-confidence. But it wasn't long that the Cincinnati title holder hunkered down and acquired her pacing to match Muchova's.
Keys started picking her targets and marking them as winners over a surprised Muchova. The first set was won by Keys at 6-4 and into the second set she had clearly gotten warmed up. The games were 5-all with the Czech pouring the forehands on.
"Sometimes it's coming back so fast, Madison just can't react," Jill Craybas comments as Keys misses a baseline return by Muchova. "When you want to take the match, you move...start playing to win" says Juan Todero, Madison Keys' coach in between the breaks when Muchova led 6-5 in the second set.
Both players pushed their strategies in to a tiebreak, but things were getting scary as the points went back and forth. But there were a few missed shots from Muchova with Keys getting the points needed to win the set and match 6-4, 7-6.