Madison Keys (USA) def Pauline Parmentier (FRA) | 64 64
Tour veteran Pauline Parmentier is enjoying a promising season. In April, she won her first title in 10-years after defeating World #2 Caroline Wozniacki in the Istanbul Quarterfinals.
After making her Grand Slam Final debut here in New York last year, Madison Keys has been steady and selective. Intelligently defending points without overextending herself. This is just her fourth event since the start of Roland Garros, where she reached her third Major Semifinal. At Wimbledon, Madison stumbled in the 3rd-Round, falling to Qualifier and World #120 Evgeniya Rodina. But she got up and dusted herself off. In Cincinnati, Keys earned her 14th career top-10 win, defeating World #4 Angelique Kerber in the Round of 16.
Stage set for a rematch of the Fed Cup Semifinals
Back in April, Keys and Parmentier battled in the second rubber of the Fed Cup Semifinals. Madison edged out the win 76(4) 64, ultimately helping Team USA earn a chance to defend its 2017 Fed Cup Title. Tonight’s 1st-Round clash was a similar battle, with Madison stepping-in and ripping returns when it mattered most.
Pauline was actually up a break early in sets one and two, but on both occasions Madison responded in kind. In the end, the pressure of serving to stay in each set proved too much for Parmentier, and Keys took full advantage. Pauline did offer some late match heroics, coming back from a 0-40 deficit, saving 6 match points. But finally, at 11:10pm, Keys scored her fourth break, dashing Parmentier’s hopes and ending Day-2.
Tired cliché alert: At 32, Pauline Parmentier isn’t getting any younger
10-years-ago, she showed massive promise, collecting two titles and cracking the WTA’s top-40. Since then, her results haven’t been dynamic, but she’s played well enough to remain in the bottom half of the top-100. Her best results have been Semifinal defeats in Strasbourg-2012, Katowice-2016, and Luxembourg-2017. Injuries haven’t helped. Right shoulder trouble in 2013 dropped her outside the top-200 by year’s end.
But something is different this year. She stepped into 2018 with a sense of urgency. After a 10-year drought, she captured the title in Istanbul – upsetting World #2 Caroline Wozniacki in the Quarterfinals. Granted, Wozniacki retired with injury before the start of the third set, but Parmentier needed to win two more to claim the trophy. And she delivered.
Though tonight she fell in straight sets to last year’s US Open Finalist, if she can stay healthy – expect Pauline to remain on the rise for the remainder of the season.
NEXT: Bernarda Pera -92- (USA)
Earlier in the day, 23-year-old Bernarda Pera won her first-ever main-draw US Open match, defeating Yulia Putintseva 76(6) 64. Pera started 2018 ranked outside the top-100, but made a name for herself as a qualifier in Melbourne, where she defeated World #10 Jo Konta to reach the Australian Open’s 3rd-Round.
Keys is familiar with her fellow 23-year-old’s strengths and weaknesses. The two played earlier this year in Charleston, and it was a hell of a green clay match. Keys emerged the victor in a deciding set: 62 67(5) 75.
We’ll see Thursday how well Pera can handle Madison’s aggressive return game on the faster hard-court surface of the US Open.
 Madison Keys -14- (USA)
She returns to “Prime Time Under the Lights” after her epic late night matches last year lifted her to her first-ever Grand Slam Final. She won last year’s 3rd-Round match at 1:45am, then went on to defeat World #4 Elina Svitolina en-route to the championship match. This May at Roland Garros, she reached her third career Major Semifinal, making the Final-4 without dropping a set. A proud member of Team USA, she reached the Bronze Medal Match in Rio; and earlier this year, earned the deciding-victory over France, lifting her teammates back into the Fed Cup Final, where they’ll defend the title this Fall. Ranked as high as World #7, she owns three WTA Singles titles and is competing in her 9th US Open. From Rock Island, Illinois – Please welcome 2017 US Open Finalist, Madison Keys.
Pauline Parmentier -71- (FRA)
6-years-ago, she reached the 3rd-Round of a Grand Slam for the first time, right here at the 2012 US Open. Two years later, as a Wild Card, she made her career-best run at a Major, reaching the Round of 16 at Roland Garros. This April, for the first time in 10-years, she captured a WTA Singles title – defeating World #2 Caroline Wozniacki en-route to the Istanbul title. It was her third career singles title overall – and with the victory, she rose 46-spots in the rankings. A member of her country’s Olympic and Fed Cup Teams, she is competing in her 14th US Open. From Cucq, France – Please welcome, Pauline Parmentier.