Madison Keys has had a slow start to the 2021 season and she failed to buck the trend against fellow American Sloane Stephens in the round of 32. Keys failed to make Sloane work hard to hold serve. Keys on the other hand had to dig deep to hold serve right from almost right from the off. Clay court tennis is about who has the stamina to last the distance in the long rallies. I am afraid Sloane looked the fittest. Take for example in the first set with Keys up 3-2 on the Stephens serve with Sloane up 40-15. The rally looked evens then Sloane decided to test Madison with the slice drop shot which Keys could not get to(She hardly even moved).
Credit has to go to Keys for the brave back hand at 4-4 adv Stephens(break point. Here it misses the mark but with a little less venom on the shot she would have saved that all important break point. Stephens held well in the next game despite being taken to deuce to win the set 6-4. I must say on clay again the type of shot you select to play is important as well as the timing. Looking back at the match particularly in the second set at 4-2 up (30-15 up)Stephens chose the wrong shot(Playing the drop shot) when it really was not on. The ball bounced up too high just when Sloane was making the drop shot,making it almost impossible to make the ball drop low just above the net on the Keys side of the court. No harm no foul I guess because that one break was enough to win the second set and match 6-4.