Li finds Keys to victory, reaches fourth round in Miami

Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:53pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) - Chinese world number two Li Na finally made her first appearance at the Sony Open on Sunday, taming American Madison Keys 7-6(3) 6-3 in an unsteady effort to reach the fourth round at Crandon Park.

Playing her first match of the tournament after receiving an opening round bye and a walkover when Alisa Kleybanova withdrew from their second round meeting with a viral illness, Li displayed some hints of rust, having to fight off three set points and an early break in the second before collecting the win.

Keys, who lives in nearby Boca Raton, had her veteran opponent on the ropes several times but has yet to develop a killer instinct, allowing the experienced Li to escape time-and-time again.

"She's number two in the world for a reason. She just won Australian Open for a reason," said Keys, defending her performance. "She's a great player.

"I played well at times and she just played the bigger points really, really well.

"There is a lot to be happy with but there is also some stuff I need to work on."

After American qualifier Coco Vandeweghe had ended Saturday play in the early Sunday morning hours with a centre court upset of 16th seeded Australian Sam Stosur, 19-year-old Keys, one of the promising young U.S. talents, took the stage also thinking upset.

Li got off to a strong start, grabbing the early break and a 3-1 lead, but the big hitting Keys answered with two breaks of her own, surging in front 5-3.   Continued...