Madison Keys used a dominant serve and her powerful forehand to dictate the action on Wednesday night under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium, delivering a routine 6-4, 6-3 victory over 30th seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez-Navarro.
“I knew that I was going to have to play really well, but also know that she’s going to come up with some great shots and defend really well,” said Keys. “So it was more just about staying calm and knowing that she was going to play well and just waiting for my opportunities.”
It wasn’t the cleanest performance from Keys. She hit 10 more unforced errors to winners (32 to 22), and only won 10 more total points than Suarez-Navarro in the whole match. But she played her best in the biggest moments of the match, breaking decisively at 5-4 in the opening set and for a 4-2 lead in the second set.
After breaking in the second, she calmly held serve in each of her next two service games to push through in straight sets.
“I felt good tonight,” Keys said. “I’m really happy to be in the semifinal.”
The 14th seeded Keys is now one win away from returning to the U.S. Open final, where she fell to compatriot Sloane Stephens a year ago. Keys will face off against the red-hot Naomi Osaka, who earlier in the day cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.
“We have had a couple of close matches on hard court before, so I know it’s going to be a tough match,” Keys said of her 20th seeded opponent. “She’s obviously playing really well to make the semifinals. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”