Keys a different player after delay

LONDON -- Among America's talented young tennis players -- both men and women -- Madison Keys is widely seen as the best and the brightest.

There's a lot to like. Keys is capable of hitting serves with Serena-like intensity. Keys' biggest, 123 mph, is comfortably inside the WTA's top 10 fastest offerings this year. Her forehand is thunderous. She moves surprisingly well for a 5-foot-10 athlete. Her coach is three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport. And, oh, she made the semifinals of this year's Australian Open -- when she was still a teenager.

The lush lawns of Wimbledon, it would seem, are perfectly conducive to her big, big game. As a teenager, Keys reached the third round at the All England Club in both of the past two years. This time she came in as the No. 21 seed.

AP Photo/Alastair Grant

Madison Keys hit 21 aces in her two-day Wimbledon opener.

And she very nearly went out in the first round, down a set and a break to Switzerland's Stefanie Voegele.

Fortunately for Keys, she found the gumption to win the second set before the match was suspended for darkness at 9:10 Tuesday night with the score 2-all in the third set.

Wednesday, a blazingly hot day, she was a different person. Keys prevailed 6-7 (6), 6-3, 6-4.

What was she thinking down 3-1 in the second set?

"At the end of the day, I started going for things," Keys said afterward.

After an ice bath and some conversation with Davenport about focus, she managed to get some sleep.

Keys hammered 21 aces -- second best in the tournament so far. Fellow American Coco Vandeweghe led all women through one round with 25, but hers are through two matches. Keys hit 61 winners (46 more than Voegele) against 30 unforced errors.

The only hiccup came in the last game, when she double-faulted twice on match points. Keys converted the fifth match point when Voegele couldn't handle another big serve.

"That's what you call nerves," Keys said. "But I was able to get out of it."

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