Madison Keys powered her way into the U.S. Open quarterfinals on Monday, improving to 5-0 all-time against Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova with a 6-1, 6-3 drubbing in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Keys is now into her third Grand Slam quarterfinal of 2018 and two victories away from returning to the U.S. Open final.
“I am glad I got the win and can come out here again for another match. It’s always easier to be more energized when the person on the other side of the net is more energized than you can possibly be,” Keys said of Cibulkova. “She’s a good player and has done a lot in her career. It was about having to focus on first serves and waiting for the right ball. I had to move my feet and used the crowd in those tight moments.”
The 14th seeded American used her thunderous forehand to push Cibulkova all over the court and dictate play. She fired 25 winners and dropped serve just once throughout the one hour and 16 minute match.
“I think the biggest thing is just being able to kind of push her back off of the baseline where she likes to hold her ground and just be able to dictate points like that,” Keys said of her game plan.
Keys will play either 22nd seed Maria Sharapova or 30th seed Carla Suarez-Navarro.
Another former finalist, Kei Nishikori, also rolled into the quarterfinals on Monday as he defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 in his fourth-round matchup.
“I think he was playing good, too, but I think I was playing a little better and tried stepping in a lot and playing aggressive and played, you know, the way I wanted to,” said Nishikori. “I mean, for me, [it] was great game. He started playing well in the last couple of games, but happy to finish in three sets today.”
Nishikori’s only hiccup on the hot afternoon was when he attempted to serve for the match at 5-4 in the third set but was broken by Kohlschreiber. The 21st seed from Japan immediately broke back and served out the match on his second try, moving into the quarterfinals in two hours and 16 minutes.
“After losing my serve, I focused again and played great in the last two games,” the 2014 finalist said.
He moves on to play the winner of seventh-seed Marin Cilic and 10th seed David Goffin.