Madison Keys shocked Iga Swiatek to move into the Western and Southern Open quarter-finals, further disrupting the world No 1’s preparations for the US Open.
Swiatek – who won her 50th match of the year in the previous round – saved four match points but was far from her best in a 6-3 6-4 loss on Thursday, as she again exited a second successive tournament event at the last-16 stage.
Keys, Cincinnati champion in 2019, had never taken a set off Poland’s Swiatek in two previous meetings but the American was far more clinical with her powerful returns and groundstrokes, breaking the world No 1 five times.
“I obviously had a couple of games with a couple of match points, but I’m just so happy to be able to get the win,” Keys said after her first career win over a world No 1. “The last time I played her she beat me pretty badly, so I’m pretty glad to get that one under my belt.”
Swiatek had complained about the tennis balls used in the women’s game in the American tournaments being different to the ones used by men, and against Keys the top seed made several unforced errors and was broken twice in the opening set.
A toilet break between sets did little to help Swiatek regain her composure as Keys put herself firmly in the driving seat as she raced to a 5-0 lead in the second set.
Serving to stay in the match, Swiatek saved two match points and that inspired her to win the next four games as Keys made several errors, but it only delayed the inevitable as Keys broke Swiatek to clinch victory with a forehand winner.
Keys will next face Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, who beat Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-2, 6-4 to sail into the quarter-finals, while Wimbledon runner-up and fifth seed Ons Jabeur was knocked out by Czech Petra Kvitova.
Jabeur served poorly in the opening set with four double faults but the Tunisian put up a brave fight in the second to take the match to a decider. However, Jabeur wilted in the blazing sunshine and although she saved two match points, Kvitova secured her place in the last eight.
Medvedev grinds down Shapovalov to reach last eight
World No 1 Daniil Medvedev wore down Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-5, 7-5 on Thursday to reach the Cincinnati quarter-finals ahead of his US Open title defence.
Russian Medvedev suffered a jarring early exit from the Canadian Masters this month but overcame early mistakes at the tune-up tournament for the year’s final major, trading breaks with Shapovalov before breaking him again in the 11th game.
A frustrated Shapovalov received a warning for whacking his racket as Medvedev, who won the tournament in 2019, wrapped up the first set. Medvedev dropped just four first-serve points in the second set and never faced a break as Shapovalov saved five break points before losing his serve in the penultimate game.
“The match was pretty tight, I felt like it was (a) great level,” Medvedev said. “My goal was to stay there every point possible.”
He faces Taylor Fritz in the next round, after the Indian Wells winner came back from a set down to beat Russian Andrey Rublev 6-7(4) 6-2 7-5 on Center Court.
Rublev’s game deteriorated just as Fritz found his form, the American breaking in the third and fifth games of the second set and hitting a dozen winners, twice as many as his opponent. Fritz saved three break points in a tense sixth game of the decider before converting his own break point in the 11th.
Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas had few problems taking down Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-3 in a little over 90 minutes after the Argentine served up nine double faults.