Arantxa Rus leaves the Australian Open with his head held high. The 29-year-old from Delft qualified for the first time since 2011 for the second round of the Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne and went down against Madison Keys, the number eleven in the world.
Rus participated for the first time since 2013 in the main schedule of the Australian Open and was surprisingly too strong for the Polish Magda Linette in her opening game. Also against Keys, she initially held up well, but after an hour and twenty minutes the American stepped out as the winner: 7-6 (3) and 6-2.
"I have shown that I can handle this level well, because I played against good players and defeated one," said Rus after the second-round match against the NOS . "The level is just there, so we have to continue on this foot."
Especially in the first set, Rus made it very difficult for Keys. At 6-5 she was two points away from the set win, but the global number eleven remained intact and eventually won the tiebreak. In the second set the resistance of the Dutch was broken, although in the third game she left several breakpoints unused.
Madison Keys fulfilled her favorite role against Arantxa Rus. (Photo: Pro Shots)
"Next time I have to take my chances"
According to Rus, Keys, an outsider for the title, was just that little bit better at the right times. "I have had many chances of breaking and I have not been able to take one, she did. Keys also served well, although my return might have been a little deeper. But that is in retrospect. Next time I just have to take my chances."
Initially, Russian would play a little earlier in the day and start on a different course. Her second-round match was the last match of Wednesday in the women's tournament, which is one of the reasons why she was allowed to play in the Rod Laver Arena, where normally only the world-class players are present.
"I didn't really care," said Rus about the ambiance. "I thought I'd take to the track sooner. A few days ago I was out of luck with the rainy day and just waiting, now I knew I had an evening race. I trained quietly, then ate some and slept in the hotel. "
Despite her loss against Keys, Rus can look back on her best Grand Slam tournament since 2012, when she reached the eighth finals of Roland Garros and the third round of Wimbledon. In 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 she shone due to absence in the main schedule of the four Grand Slam tournaments.