Tennis-Keys claims dramatic comeback win over tearful Osaka

Sat Sep 3, 2016 4:18am EDT
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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka admitted she had "freaked out" as her big lead slipped away against Madison Keys at the U.S. Open on Friday.

Osaka was reduced to tears as American eighth seed Keys claimed a dramatic 7-5 4-6 7-6(3) comeback win to reach the fourth round.

Leading 5-1 in the third set and on the cusp of the biggest victory of her career, Osaka crumbled as Keys swept the next five games en route to a victory that stunned her 18-year-old opponent.

"Those aren't the most fun matches but I just knew that if I stayed in the match that I could maybe have a chance to come back and get back in it," said Keys, who will next meet former world number one and U.S. Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki.

"Once I was able to get a little bit of momentum, I felt like I found my game a bit more. At that point, I knew I had to kind of step up or else I was going to be going home."

The excruciating collapse by Osaka played out on one of the game's biggest stages.

The Japanese world number 81 was in tears several times, a distraught Osaka at one point hanging her head and covering her eyes as she walked to a corner of the court.

But there was no place to hide inside the massive Arthur Ashe Stadium from the gaze of thousands of fans or a ruthless Keys, who moved in for the kill and clinched the comeback when Osaka sent a return wide.   Continued...

Sept 2, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Madison Keys of the United States reacts after beating Naomi Osaka of Japan on day five of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports