Cameron on Aussie Open: Keys turning heads

January 16, 2013, 1:46 AM

What the heck is a Madison Keys? Is that a new hip band I don’t know about? Maybe a cool vacation spot in Florida? Nope.

Madison Keys is a 17-year-old American tennis player who had us all scratching our heads late Wednesday night as the teenager routed 30th ranked Tamira Paszek 6-2, 6-1 in just 56 minutes to advance to the third round of the Australian Open. Not impressed yet? Well, she also hit six aces, won 86 per cent of her first serve points, and hit 23 winners.

Seventeen years-old. I know I already said it, but I just thought I’d remind you that she’s 17-years-old. Seventeen years old! Okay, I’m done.

Now that her age is established, this will blow your mind: believe it or not, Keys was only 14-years-old when she won her first WTA match. That same year, she beat Serena Williams in a World TeamTennis match just weeks after Serena won Wimbledon. Wowza.

With her powerful groundstrokes and serve that averages about 173 kilometres per hour, it’s nearly impossible to think that Keys won’t be a champion and star on the WTA tour. It’s one thing to have all that power, but at such a young age, Keys is managing to harness that power and dictate her points. If you have a strong serve on the WTA tour, you’ll be feared — just look at Serena.

Keys started 2013 ranked No. 149, but has moved up to 105th in the world in just two weeks. In the Australian Open warm-up tournament in Sydney, Keys beat two top-50 players (Lucie Safarova and Jie Zheng) to reach the quarter-finals where she fell to 2011 French Open champion Li Na, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2. Keys didn’t fall quietly.

In the next round Keys will face world No. 5, Angelique Kerber. Based on rankings alone, Kerber is the obvious favourite. But this match won’t be that simple. With her power and momentum, Keys could easily win. If I was Kerber, I’d be scared.

So while she may not look like much of a teenager out on the court, remember, she’s still just a senior in high school.

When asked by Wilson what her New Years resolution was she responded: “I will keep my room cleaner and be nicer to my sisters … (that was for my mom). For real, my biggest resolution is to finish up my senior year with good grades.”

She might want to add a trip to the round of 16 at the Australian Open to that list.

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