Madison Keys – Out of the 2016 US Open

Caroline Wozniacki eliminated Madison Keys from the 2016 US Open draw on Sunday.

Madison Keys’ 2016 Grand Slam season is complete. The American faced Caroline Wozniacki in the round of sixteen at the US Open on Sunday and lost in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. The result sends Wozniacki into the quarters with what looks like an optimistic draw: the Dane with face Anastasija Sevastova in the quarters. But for Keys, the result affirms that she is not yet ready to challenge consistently for the biggest titles on the WTA Tour.

Keys made the fourth round at the 2016 Australian Open, a result that had to be a little disappointing because she had made the semifinals at Melbourne Park in the prior year. However, the American really turned heads just ahead to the French Open when she made the final of the Premier Mandatory event in Rome. That she lost to Serena Williams in that final was not taken to mean a lot, given everything that the World No. 1 has accomplished:

“You’re going to be number one, for sure,” Williams told Keys after the match.

Rome was one key result that helped get Keys into the Top 10 and, in consideration of her youth, she seemed to be on the cusp of greatness.

However, the three Grand Slams that followed Rome have all been disappointments: Keys exited in the fourth round at Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open. Furthermore, she lost in the final of the Premier Mandatory event in Canada, she lost in the semifinals of Rio, and she lost in the bronze medal match at the same Olympics. The American clearly has a big-match hump to get over and, with time on her side, she will almost surely surmount it.

However, the 2016 Grand Slam season is over for the young American and she has to be disappointed with not doing more damage in the majors. Looking ahead, there are still opportunities outside of the Grand Slams this season. The tour has big tournaments in Asia and Keys has a chance to qualify for the year-end WTA World Tour Finals event in Singapore.

Looking at 2017, Keys can be expected to grow – she is still just 21 years old. However, I think that it will be 2018 when she really arrives as a strong force on tour and I see a rivalry for big titles developing between Keys and Swiss player Belinda Bencic.

Shane Lambert