Wimbledon 2014: Madison shows she holds the keys to a golden future
The big-serving American demolished Monica Puig 6-3, 6-3 in little more than an hour
How Wimbledon loves a teenager on the rampage. Fresh from her maiden WTA victory at Eastbourne on Saturday, 19-year-old Madison Keys bowled on to Court 8 to give another assured display of power hitting.
The big-serving American's 6-3, 6-3 demolition of Monica Puig in little more than an hour demonstrated why many believe the future not only of United States tennis but also the women's game post Williams sisters is safe in her hands.
A product of Chris Evert's Florida academy, Keys won her first match on the WTA tour at just 14. Movement was considered her Achilles heel, an area of her game that has improved no end this year.
"Obviously I'm feeling pretty confident, especially on grass right now. I'm just feeling like I can play entire tournaments and I'm actually able to go out and win. Winning feels really good. There was definitely a moment on Saturday where I was, like, this would be awesome if it happened every week."
Keys hit the fastest serve of 2014 at Eastbourne last week and one of the quickest ever recorded by a woman, 126mph. The unforgivable absence of a radar gun on court here denied us proof of the cordite measure that so excites. According to Keys she was rocking the internal speed trap just as much.
"I was surprised to hear how fast I was serving in Eastbourne. I really don't ever feel like, wow, I hit that really hard. It's usually, that felt like a good serve. I would imagine they are similar because they felt similar, but who knows?"
The seven aces she sent past Puig was proof enough of the potency of her signature weapon. Having reached the third round on debut last year it is a brave woman who would back against her trumping that achievement.
Agnieszka Radwanska is the polar opposite of Keys, but equally effective. The waif-like strokemaker from Poland insinuates her way through gaps in her opponent's armoury with beautifully disguised thrusts and clever angles.
She barely stopped to draw breath in swatting aside the easily outmanoeuvred Andreea Mitu 6-1, 6-2 in just 48 minutes. Last year's semi-finalist and fourth seed meets Australia's Casey Dellacqua in round two. Don't blink, etc.
The rehabilitation of Andrea Petkovic continued with the routine execution of Katarzyna Piter 6-1, 6-4. After a second knee injury in the space of three years forced her back to the surgeons table in January 2013, the Serbian-born German considered quitting the game at just 25.
A semi-finalist last month in Paris, Petkovic hopes to carry on that momentum to eclipse her third round career-best finish here in 2011, the year she broke into the world top 10.
"The nice thing after all my injuries is that I learnt to appreciate it much more and enjoy the nice moments," she said. "Before when I was in the top 10 and playing the quarter-finals of the Grand Slams, I was sort of caught up in trying to get better and getting more points and getting higher in the ranking. But you shouldn't forget to enjoy the nice things you have achieved."
Serena Williams enjoyed an early evening workout easing past fellow American Anna Tatishvili 6-1, 6-2.
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