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Sweet 16 bound: Madison Keys battles back, advances to 4th round of Australian Open

Another match, another win for Madison Keys who moves on after a wild tiebreak rally. The Rock Island native secured one of 16 final spots in the Australian Open.
Credit: AP
Madison Keys of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Wang Qiang of China in their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Tertius Pickard)

MELBOURNE, VIC — It's hard to find another tennis player in the world more locked-in than Rock Island's Madison Keys who extended her winning streak to eight matches following a comeback victory in the Australian Open on Thursday.

After dropping the first set, Keys battled back to defeat China's Wang Qiang 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2) to reach the fourth round of the tournament.

It wasn't easy for the 26-year-old who combined 50 winners and 50 unforced errors. But, Keys flipped the script in the do-or-die tiebreak by hitting five winners without committing a single unforced error.

The win comes amid a career resurgence for Keys who entered the tournament unseeded. She made it this far after a first-round 7-6 (2), 7-5 upset of 11th-seeded Sofia Kenin, followed by a 6-2, 7-5 win over Romanian Jaqueline Cristian.

RELATED: Rock Island native Madison Keys upsets ex-champ Sofia Kenin in Australian Open

Her comeback on Thursday mirrors her return to elite competition after winning just 11 total matches in 2021 and missing last year's Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19.

Keys went from what she called a "deep dark pit of despair" to resetting her mindset and using it to fuel her success.

“I’ve kind of just decided to let it go,” Keys said, per Tennis.com. “I told my boyfriend after I lost last week, I was like, ‘C’est la vie, just vibes, we’re vibing out here, it’s fine, we’re good.’”

Now Keys finds herself in the round of 16 for the first time since 2019.

Her fourth-round matchup will be against eighth-seeded Paula Badosa of Spain. An official time has not been scheduled as of late Friday afternoon, but Keys vs. Badosa is expected to take place on Jan. 22. 

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