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Resilient Keys ousts Williams to reach Melbourne semis

AFP

American teenager Madison Keys battled past Venus Williams, 15 years her senior, to make the Australian Open semi-finals on Wednesday and end the seven-time Grand Slam champion's stirring run at Melbourne Park.

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The unseeded Keys, 19, beat her 18th seeded compatriot 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, overcoming a thigh injury to reach her first Grand Slam semi.

She will meet Venus's younger sister, top seed Serena Williams, who thrashed last year's finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2.

Keys said she had to beat nerves facing the 34-year-old Williams, who started her Grand Slam career when the teen was two years old, in her first quarter-final at a major.

"The moment's definitely sweeter being able to play Venus," the world number 35 said after a rollercoaster three setter.

"It's amazing, obviously I was very nervous coming out but I had to embrace the moment and I did and I get to enjoy another moment in the next round."

Keys, who is coached by former Australian Open champion Lindsay Davenport, had a lengthy time out in the second set and said she feared the return of an injury that ended her Wimbledon campaign last year.

"It wasn't as bad as Wimbledon but it was that nightmare of 'I don't want this to happen again' so it was a little overwhelming," she said.

Keys took a tight first set but was trailing 4-1 in the second when she had the lengthy medical timeout, with Williams going on to take the set.

The third was a see-sawing affair featuring four breaks of serve, with Keys finally winning in one hour 55 minutes when Williams netted a return on match point.

The defeat ended a stirring run for Williams, who was playing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final since the US Open in 2010 and was diagnosed in 2011 with Sjogren's syndrome, an auto-immune disease that causes fatigue and joint pain.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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