2011 U.S. OPEN DAY 1: 16-Year Old Madison Keys Makes Good Use Of Wild Card, Ousts Veteran Jill Craybas
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
2011 U.S. Open wild card recipient Madison Keys, USA advances to second round.
|Jill Craybas, USA|
As well she should. After all, Keys became the youngest player since 2005 to win a match at the U.S. Open by beating 37-year-old Jill Craybas 6-2, 6-4 on Monday.
Keys was playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, and appearing in a tour-level event for only the third time. At 455th, she is the lowest-ranked woman in the field.
"Obviously it was a good first day. It's just been awesome," Keys said. "I'm really excited, and hopefully I have another good match Wednesday."
She wasn't intimidated by the setting Monday, even though she never had played in a match this important or at a tournament this big.
"It's pretty crowded. There's lots of energy," Keys said. "So it's definitely an awesome experience."
Her secret to dealing with the hustle and bustle of the U.S. Open?
"I have two younger sisters who are always really loud and everything, so I'm kind of used to noise," Keys explained.
Keys won her first WTA main-draw match in 2009 at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., when she was 14 — about a decade after she first took up tennis.
Her interest in the sport came about after seeing Venus Williams on TV at home.
"I was 4, and I walked through my parents' bedroom — I think they were watching Wimbledon or something — and I decided I wanted Venus' dress. They told me if I played tennis, they'd buy me a tennis dress," Keys said. "I said, 'All right, I'll try it.' I have been playing ever since."
Craybas, who lives in Huntington Beach, Calif., was playing in her 45th consecutive Grand Slam tournament — tied for the longest active streak — and 49th overall. But she is 111th in the WTA rankings and — like Keys — needed a wild card from the U.S. Tennis Association to get into the main draw.
Craybas made her Grand Slam debut at the 1996 U.S. Open, about 18 months after Keys was born, and was the second-oldest entrant this year.
This was the 15th time Craybas has played at Flushing Meadows.
"I was told there was a pretty big age difference," Keys said, "but I wasn't really thinking about it."
Four 16-year-olds, all days or weeks younger than Keys — Vania King, Nicole Vaidisova, Sessil Karatantcheva and Alexa Glatch — won U.S. Open matches in 2005.