August 12, 2016
Madison Keys showed there is vibrant American life after Serena Williams in the women’s tennis tournament at the Rio Olympics.
Her thrilling win over Daria Kasatkina of Russia propelled her into the semi-finals. It also eased the pain of Serena’s tearful singles exit, which was followed by the world number one’s doubles defeat alongside her sister Venus.
Marvellous as the Williams sisters have been for so long, Keys belongs to what should also be a bright future for American women’s tennis.
She showed just why in Brazil, winning her quarter-final by a convincing 6-3, 6-1.
Next up for Keys was Angelique Kerber, though. The Australian Open champion and Wimbledon finalist has been playing just as well as Madison.
Kerber saw off the normally-impressive Johanna Konta of Great Britain 6-1, 6-2 in their quarter-final, to declare her intention to go all the way at the Olympics too.
It therefore promised to be a semi-final to savour, just as the other half of the draw was also coming nicely to the boil.
Petra Kvitova, who has twice won Wimbledon, seemed to be another contender for the Olympic title.
The big Czech saw off Elina Svitolina in such stunning style that you almost wondered how the Ukrainian had knocked out Serena so ruthlessly.
The powerful Kvitova demolished Svitolina 6-2, 6-0 to suggest to the watching world that she was back to her best form in time to fight for a top medal.
Her semi-final opponent was then Monica Puig of Puerto Rico. And in case anyone is wondering, Puig’s quarter-final hadn’t been remotely close either.
She defeated Germany’s Laura Siegemund 6-1, 6-1 in just over an hour.
So no one can claim that the semi-final foursome hadn’t thoroughly deserved their places in the medal matches.
Precisely how those medals were to be distributed, when all was said and done, remained to be seen.
However, as the Williams sisters and Garbine Muguruza will testify, there is nothing predictable about this women’s tournament at Rio 2016.
It should be a sizzler right to the finish!