Portugal Colonial - Keys upbeat for 2022 despite Barty thrashing

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Keys upbeat for 2022 despite Barty thrashing
Keys upbeat for 2022 despite Barty thrashing

Keys upbeat for 2022 despite Barty thrashing

Madison Keys said that starting the year on such a strong footing gave her a lot of confidence for the season despite being thrashed by Ashleigh Barty in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday.

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The American had a torrid 2021, winning just 11 matches all season, but she has matched that this month alone after winning in Adelaide then reaching the last-four at Melbourne Park.

On her way to the semi-final, the unseeded Keys, ranked 51, pulled off big upsets to beat top-10 players Barbora Krejcikova and Paula Badosa, results that have left her upbeat about what lies ahead.

"Honestly, I think the biggest thing that I take from the summer is just getting a lot of matches in," she said.

"It's been a really long time since I have been able to start off the year on such a strong foot and have all of these matches and to have all that confidence going into the year.

"I don't think I have ever had that, so that's a great feeling. It's something that's really great to build off of. Just having all of that experience on the court already this year for tough moments down the road is going to be really beneficial."

The last time Keys got this far at Melbourne Park she was just 19 and came face-to-face with a dominant Serena Williams, the eventual champion.

That 2015 result helped propel her into the top 10 and she went on to be a 2017 finalist at the US Open and made the last four at Roland Garros a year later.

Keys will climb back to at least the top 30 when the rankings come out on Monday and she said she was enjoying tennis again.

"I think that the biggest thing that I have learned from this trip is that enjoying myself on a tennis court is absolutely vitally important for me," she said.

"At the end of the day I have to enjoy what I'm doing, and I have to figure out how to not put all of that pressure on myself so that I can enjoy tennis, because when I enjoy tennis I'm capable of playing at a much higher level than what was happening last year."