Madison Keys is hoping U.S. Open is her chance at tennis stardom

Five of the top 7 females in the current WTA rankings opted out of participating in in this year’s U.S. Open up, perhaps opening the field for somebody who never has gained it to lift the championship trophy at Flushing Meadows.

Madison Keys is amongst a slew of gamers searching for these types of a breakthrough. She reached the final right here in 2017, but nevertheless is searching for her initially Grand Slam championship.

The 25-calendar year-aged American designed quick function Tuesday of Hungary’s Timea Babos, taking just 55 minutes to full a six-1, six-1 dismantling in advance of a fan-a lot less Louis Armstrong Stadium.

“The easiest point is there’s absolutely no sounds, so you can hear every little thing that is heading on on the court. But the most tough is absolutely possessing to deliver all of the energy yourself,” said Keys, who isn’t lined up to confront a seeded player till at minimum the Round of 16. “We obviously all want to be out right here and we all want to earn.

“We’re truly excited to be again and competing. But not possessing that fan energy to get you as a result of difficult times has been truly tough. It is been entirely on us to build all of our personal energy.”

Keys, 25, is rated 14th by the WTA, but she’s seeded seventh at the Open up, with highly rated gamers these types of as No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep (2), Elina Svitolina (5), defending winner Bianca Andreescu (six) and Kiki Bertens (seven) amongst those people not right here amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Keys dropped in the Open up final to fellow American Sloane Stephens in 2017 in advance of she fell in the semifinals the subsequent summertime to eventual winner Naomi Osaka.

Even now, she is the only lady to achieve at minimum the fourth round in each and every of the previous 5 U.S. Opens.

A further mounting American, Australian Open up winner and fourth-rated and No. 2 seed Sofia Kenin, also steamed as a result of her opening-round match in straight sets, upending Yanina Wickmayer (six-2, six-2) in the Armstrong match previous Keys’ victory.

“I come to feel like coming off immediately after winning Aussie, absolutely did a lot for my self esteem,” said Kenin, who was born in Russia, but raised in Florida. “Yeah, U.S. Open up is the initially Grand Slam immediately after it. Ordinarily, it is the French [Open up].

“But, yeah, I just experimented with to use what I got in Aussie and just attempt to use my self esteem and perform nicely. It absolutely helped me. I experimented with to not come to feel so a lot strain, but I just taken care of the situation truly nicely.”