CHARLESTON, S.C. — Madison Keys grabbed an early lead and breezed into the second round of the Charleston Open with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over wild-card entry Emma Navarro, the 2021 NCAA singles champion whose father owns the green-clay tournament.
With the temperature around 80 degrees, 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Keys went up 4-0.
“Starting off on a good foot is really important normally,” said Keys, who won the Charleston title in 2019 and is seeded No. 9 this year, “but especially so when you’re playing someone young and someone in front of a home crowd.”
She finished the match with a 7-0 edge in aces, while converting 4 of 5 break points she generated – and saving 4 of 5 she faced.
“She came out playing really aggressively. I was knocked back a little bit at the beginning,” said the 21-year-old Navarro, who is ranked a career-best 118th this week and was playing in just the 16th tour-level contest of her career. “I think that, combined with some nerves, kind of set me back a little bit.”
Her father, Ben, is a local billionaire who bought the Charleston tournament in 2018 and whose company also owns the Western & Southern Open in Ohio.
“It’s cool to play someone who I’ve watched when they were at this level, and I wasn’t,” Navarro said. “So, yeah, to be able to play against her was cool for me. Definitely a learning experience.”
In other first-round action, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was a 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-1 winner over Aliaksandra Sasnovich in a rain-interrupted match. Play was stopped because of a downpour Monday night while Kenin was ahead 3-0 in the third set.
“I wish we would have finished yesterday so I could have the day off,” said Kenin, who plays No. 15 seed Irina-Camelia Begu for a spot in the third round.
No. 12 seed Paula Badosa began the day’s schedule in the main stadium with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Mayar Sherif, while Bernarda Pera beat Claire Liu 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3 in a matchup between a pair of Americans.
In a second-round match, No. 2 seed Ons Jabeur, runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 6-3.
And two-time Australian Open winner and No. 6 seed Victoria Azarenka beat Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the last 16 and a match against Anna Kalinskaya. Kalinskaya defeated Alize Cornet 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-2.