Americans Coco Vandeweghe And Madison Keys Safely Into Quarters
LONDON -- Believe it or not, there were several Americans playing fourth-round singles matches Monday not named Williams.
In fact, two of them -- against the bare logic of the seedings -- reached the quarterfinals Monday. Yes, Madison Keys, a smiling 20-year-old from Boca Raton, Florida, and Coco Vandeweghe, a laughing 23-year-old from Rancho Sante Fe, California, are into the final eight at the All England Club.
The No. 21-seeded Keys defeated the last qualifier in the draw, Olga Govortsova, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. Vandeweghe knocked out French Open finalist and No. 6 seed Lucie Safarova with some tenacious tiebreaker play, 7-6 (1), 7-6 (4).
The arrival of Keys and Vandeweghe in the quarters underlines the curious anarchy at work in the women's game. The first-week departure of second and third seeds Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep and Safarova's exit guaranteed a complete makeover of the final eight. Not a single player from last year's group managed to repeat the effort, which marks the first time that's happened at Wimbledon in the Open era.
Keys, who reached the semifinals at this year's Australian Open, was less of a surprise. Vandeweghe, however, is unseeded here and had never been past Wimbledon's second round.
Afterward, she didn't sound overly thrilled with her effort.
"No," Vandeweghe said. "I didn't really feel that good. I thought it was one of my worst matches that I played the whole tournament so far. I think it was more my court positioning early on. I thought I was too far back, letting her dictate instead of making her feel my presence.
"But other than that, I mean, I kept calm and cool. So I think that helped. When the tougher, longer rallies happened, I was on the winning end of it more times than I wasn't. I think that was kind of the difference in the match."
Indeed, Vandeweghe converted the only two break opportunities she had, while Safarova was 2-for-9. In the first tiebreaker, a 97 mph ace and an unreturnable serve delivered her the set.
When you are ranked No. 47 in the world, as Vandeweghe pointed out, every win at this stage is an upset. In the second round, she surprised No. 11 seed Karolina Pliskova, followed by No. 22 Samantha Stosur in the third and now Safarova. The next one is an even bigger ask: No. 4 seed and 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova.
"I try to have a good time out there on the court, or at least fake it enough to where it looks like I'm having a good time out there," Vandeweghe said of her outgoing on-court demeanor. "I definitely am the type of person that likes to have a laugh at themselves, especially when it looks like I have done something stupidly ridiculous. I think that relaxes me instead of keeping it pent up and at a shorter fuse."
Keys has reached the quarterfinals in two of the year's three Grand Slams. She'll next play No. 13 seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
"I'm just happy I'm in the second quarter," she said. "No, I definitely feel like when I'm walking out onto the courts, not only do I feel people are expecting me to win but I am expecting me to win. That's a different pressure than I'm putting on myself. I think I have handled it pretty well so far."