Keys locks up last 16 spot as Federer, Kyrgios clash at US Open

New York (AFP) –


Madison Keys, vying to return to the US Open final, was back in the last 16 after a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 victory over Aleksandra Krunic on Saturday.

Keys, the 14th seed, sounded a little relieved after surviving an error-strewn performance to improve to 4-0 in US Open third-round matches.

"I was definitely a little nervous and she came out playing really well and put a lot of pressure on me from the start," said Keys, whose pre-match aim of getting comfortable on Arthur Ashe Stadium "clearly didn't happen."

"I'm happy to be in the next round," said the 23-year-old American who will face either Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber or Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova for a place in the quarter-finals.

The match was the curtain raiser to five-time champion Roger Federer's third-round duel with Australian Nick Kyrgios.

It's a potentially tough match-up for the second-seeded Swiss. He's won two of his three meetings with the unpredictable Aussie, but all three matches have gone the distance and eight of nine sets they've played have gone to tiebreakers.

Whatever danger Kyrgios's game offers, Federer was at least certain there would be no repeat of Thursday's astonishing scenes, when umpire Mohamed Lahyani descended from his chair to give a plainly disinterested Kyrgios a pep-talk as he trailed 4-6, 0-3 against France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

"That won't happen," said Federer, who was among the many who believed Lahyani had overstepped his role in having a "conversation" with Kyrgios.

"Conversations can change your mindset," said Federer, who claimed his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and is now seeking a first US Open crown since 2008.

The winner of the match will face Australian John Millman, who reached the US Open last 16 for the first time with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin.

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic headlines the evening action on Ashe against French veteran Richard Gasquet.

Djokovic beset by injury and self-doubt to start the season, broke out of the doldrums with his 13th Grand Slam title at the All-England Club.

He promptly backed that up with a Cincinnati Masters title to confirm he's a legitimate challenger to Federer and world number one Rafael Nadal despite his relatively modest sixth seeding.

Former champion Maria Sharapova is also in action on Ashe, taking on former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia for a place in the last 16.

Germany's 2016 US Open winner Angelique Kerber, who claimed her third Grand Slam title with her victory over Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final, headlined afternoon action on Louis Armstrong Stadium where 2014 men's champion Marin Cilic takes on Australian teenager Alex De Minaur.

Fifth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion took on red-hot Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka and sixth-seeded Caroline Garcia of France faced Spain's Carla Suarez-Navarro.

In early results, 19-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova won a roller-coaster battle against 13th-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 7-6 (7/1) to continue her best ever Grand Slam showing.