Madison Keys has climbed to a career-high ranking No. 9 in the world and she’s done it with some of the same tools that have propelled Serena Williams to the top of the game. Here’s a look at their 2016 serving stats through Aug. 22, 2016– the numbers show where they rank on the WTA Tour:
It’s cool to see a young American in the Top 10 in all of the most important serving categories on the WTA Tour. We’ve always said that Serena’s serve is what sets her apart from the competition, but Keys has shown formidable serving numbers as well.
It’s a bit ironic to note that the one area where Keys doesn’t measure up to Serena is on return of serve. For 2016, Williams has won 44% of her return games (fifth best on tour). Keys has won 34% of her return games. Most women on tour struggle with their serves against the strong groundstrokes and returns that are the norm on the WTA Tour. Keys has developed a dominant service game but needs to improve on her consistency from the ground in order to continue her climb to the top of the game.
Madison has reached the round of 16 in her last four Grand Slam events. Improved consistency will be a major key for Keys as she looks for her first career Grand Slam title. Her last three losses on tour have come to World No. 2 Angelique Kerber in the semifinals of the Olympics and twice to World No. 5 Simona Halep, on grass at Wimbledon and on the hard courts of Montreal. Keys will need to be more patient and more consistent to break through against the very best in the game.
Check SI.com's 2016 U.S. Open data hub page throughout the whole tournament for the latest data-driven infographics and charts from IBM, the official technology partner for the U.S. Open. IBM captures and analyzes the data that powers all of the Grand Slams, as well as the digital platforms that extend the experience to fans around the world.