Madison Keyed In, Petkovic Survives QF Scare

Three matches, nine games.

That’s the tally so far for Madison Keys, the American seeded No. 7 this year at the Volvo Car Open, who on Friday defeated compatriot Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-2 to make semifinals.

MORE: Setting up the Quarterfinals | Schedule of Play | Draws | Tickets

Keys has dropped just nine games in those three wins, her standout tennis playing above the fold in what has been a year of upsets on Daniel Island.

There has been no upset for defending champion Andrea Petkovic, but the No. 3 seed was challenged once again on Friday in the late afternoon, coming from a set down to beat an inspired qualifier in Danka Kovinic 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. Petkovic came back from a first-set loss in her second round match, as well, and escaped a tight battle with American Madison Brengle on Thursday.

The 20-year-old American Keys will face qualifier Lucie Hradecka in the semifinals, the Czech veteran continuing her Cinderella run here this week with a 6-2, 6-4 upset of No. 4 seed Sara Errani. It was Hradecka’s sixth victory of the week, counting two in the qualifying draw.

Keys had a breakout event at the Cup in 2013, when as a 18 year old she was a quarterfinalist before losing to Venus Williams. The Illinois native made the semifinals at the Australian Open in January, her best run at a Grand Slam to date.

“I was definitely more of the underdog playing through it and hadn’t had as much success,” Keys said of 2013. “This year… I’ve been the seed (and) I’ve been the one who’s supposed to win, and it’s a different pressure, for sure. And you know, so far it’s been going well. Two years ago there was definitely a lot more close matches, and I wasn’t playing as comfortably on (clay), so, so far this year it’s definitely been a little bit easier to get to where I am.

It will be Keys and Hradecka’s first career meeting. 

“(When I arrived last Saturday) I was joking with my coach, ‘I hope we’ll be not like from plane to car and car to plane and go home,” Hradecka, 29, said. “And one week later and I am still here. And that’s awesome. I was looking forward for the clay season, because the clay is my favorite surface. So I’m so happy.”  

Petkovic will meet either No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber or Irina-Camelia Begu, the No. 13 seed. They face off in the evening session.

“I expected her to play great tennis, but… I have trouble controlling my emotions,” said Petkovic, who moved to 11-0 on Daniel Island. “I get upset with myself that I can’t control my emotions, and you know, it’s just a constant battle. I was lucky in the beginning of the second set (because) she gave me a few presents, and then I found my rhythm and I sort of snapped my teeth into the game again.”

Friday will conclude with a doubles quarterfinal, the last of six quarterfinal matches for the day.

The match features Martina Hingis, as she and partner Sania Mirza take to the court against defending champions Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova.