Madison Keys broke into the top 10 in the women’s rankings for the first time by beating Carla Suarez Navarro and advancing to the Aegon Classic final on Saturday.
Keys, a 21-year-old American whose ferocious hitting could make her a major force on grass, won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) against the 15th-ranked Spaniard.
“I heard about the top 10 ranking from my coach but tried to pretend I didn’t know about it,” said Keys.
The seventh-seeded Keys showed intermittent brilliance mixed with unforced errors in her fiercely uncompromising game, which Keys described as “a balancing act between going for the right shot at the right time and being more consistent.”
After Keys dropped serve early on, she was outplayed by sixth-seeded Suarez Navarro in the first set, but then took charge of the second and generated a momentum which carried her to 4-2 in the third.
Then it started to go wrong again, until Keys achieved a mini-break and a 5-2 lead in the tiebreaker by punishing Suarez Navarro’s second serve.
Keys faces 30th-ranked Barbora Strycova in the final after the Czech beat CoCo Vandeweghe of the United States 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 to make her second final in this tournament in three years.