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Jul 7, 2024 3:04 pm

Madison Keys (leg) retires in Wimbledon fourth round

Madison Keys

Seventh-seeded Jasmine Paolini advanced to her first Wimbledon quarterfinal on Sunday when No. 12 Madison Keys retired because of a left leg injury with the third set tied at 5-5.

Italy’s Paolini, who had never won a Wimbledon match before this year, was leading the fourth-round match following a 6-3 first set and before her American opponent battled to take the second set 7-6 (6) and force a third.

Keys led 5-2 in the decider and was serving against Paolini, a French Open finalist last month, but could not close out the match. Paolini had cut her deficit to 5-4 when Keys left the court for a medical timeout and returned with her left thigh taped.

Her movement restricted, Keys saw Paolini win her fourth consecutive game for 5-5, and the American cried in pain following the game. After her opponent’s ace for 15-15 in the 11th game of the set, Keys retired.

“Right now, I’m so sorry for her,” Paolini told the crowd in her on-court interview. “To end the match like this is bad. It was a really good, tough match. A lot of up and downs. I feel a bit happy and a bit sad for her. It’s not easy to win like that.”

At the time the match ended, Keys led in winners, 35-26, as well as unforced errors, 39-26. Keys converted six of eight break-point opportunities, while Paolini cashed in on seven of 13.

“It was a rollercoaster,” Paolini said. “I started really well, but she’s a great champion. I was telling myself you never know in tennis. She retired, and I’m here with the win.”

Paolini faces the winner of the All-American match between No. 2 Coco Gauff and No. 19 Emma Navarro, scheduled for later Sunday, in the quarterfinals.

In another fourth-round match, Croatia’s Donna Vekic defeated Spain’s Paula Badosa 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in their first meeting on the WTA Tour.

Vekic, ranked No. 37 in the world, recorded four aces and 33 winners against No. 93 Badosa, who has battled back from a back issue since the start of the 2023 season.

A former World No. 2, Badosa had won consecutive matches just once in the first four months since returning to competition in January before playing at Wimbledon.

In the quarterfinals, Vekic will play New Zealand qualifier Lulu Sun, who defeated Great Britain’s Emma Raducanu 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

Sun made 44 unforced errors while Raducanu had 21, but she also collected 52 winners to just 19 for her British opponent. Sun also broke Raducanu’s serve five times and won 23 of 28 points at the net.

“Oh, man, it was a great match against her,” Sun said in her post-match interview. “I really had to fight tooth and nail against her.

“I’m just incredibly … I don’t even have the words right now.”

–Field Level Media

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