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September 6, 2017

Madison Keys

New York, NY, USA

M. KEYS/K. Kanepi

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Did you feel that saving the three break points in the third game helped you free up and get on a roll?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, I think once I came back from that, I kind of relaxed a bit. Definitely started really nervous. Kind of feeling like I was getting on a roll definitely helped relax me and helped me loosen up to play some of my best tennis.

Q. You said on the court that you felt quite nervous today knowing kind of what was at stake beyond you making a semifinal. Can you talk through what you were thinking and how dark did it get?
MADISON KEYS: I was really nervous. I mean, I think it's -- on top of, you know, coming back after having a big win the other night, and then all of a sudden being in a match where you're supposed to win, it was a lot. And then being the last American. It was really bad (smiling).

I texted Lindsay to have a speech ready for when I got here. But then once I warmed up and everything, I felt better. Sitting in the city was starting to make me crazy.

Q. Is it a relief to finish a match on the same day that you started it?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, it's crazy. I'm going to have a lot of options tonight.

Q. Does Lindsay, given her experience, obviously, in a situation like this, with all this exceedingly crazy pressure, is she helpful in relating anything she's experienced in the past? Do you talk about those things?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, for sure. Even when I texted her this morning, I was saying, I'm so nervous. She's, like, Trust me, I know. If you weren't, I'd think you were crazy. She was fully expecting it.

You know, having her experience totally helps, and she can, you know, sit there and talk to me and just say, I totally get what you're going through. She's really good at delivering that message in a way that I can fully understand it.

Q. Is it a relief that you made it four-for-four? Is it joy? What are the emotions there?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, it's really amazing, not only for myself but just for, you know, American tennis.

Yeah, I'm really excited and, you know, proud of all of us for getting this far and having it going to be, you know, USA all the way (smiling).

Q. Aside from the great esprit de corps in American tennis, what does it mean for you personally to have achieved this spot?
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, I mean, Lindsay even said to me today, she said, If I told you after Paris that you'd be a quarterfinalist at the US Open, would you believe me? I said, There's no way.

So having, you know, all of the things that were kind of thrown at me this whole year and having some really low moments and, you know, there was a moment where I came off the court, and I said, I don't know if I'm ever going to win a tennis match again.

There was definitely a lot of dark moments. To have this really feels good and makes me really proud of myself.

Q. How would you describe Venus, the competitor, and what it's like to face her competitive intensity?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, Venus is always going to be tough. She fights till the very end, and, you know, that's going to happen.

So I think no matter what the scoreline is, you always know that V could come out and play some amazing tennis at any moment.

Q. You know, there is kind of this view of her as, I don't know, something soft from the outside with the smile and some of the way she conducts herself. But how different is she on the tennis court?
MADISON KEYS: I mean, I would argue that there's a lot of people like that. I think she's, you know, obviously really good at it, being able to turn on that competitor every time she steps on the court.

Yeah, I think it just brings -- the tennis court brings out the best in her.

Q. You had to sit through a lot of press conferences where you have been asked to explain or talk about, defend, the state of American tennis?
MADISON KEYS: The death of American tennis?

Q. The spiral... You know what I'm referring to. Can you talk about what it feels like now? Does it feel like a bit of vindication?
MADISON KEYS: Oh, my God, it feels so good. We have so many Americans to talk about in the last days of the US Open. I can't tell you how many times I have sat in this chair and had to hear, you know, how horrible tennis is in America.

So this feels really good. The fact that there is going to be, you know, two all-American semifinals, two, you know, people in the finals in Saturday, and Sam obviously had a great tournament. Not only that, he's playing really well. There is lots of young up-and-comers. I think there is a lot of good American tennis to come.

Q. You also said you didn't really expect anything like this, considering your surgeries. I'm wondering, the fact that you had surgery on the wrist, was that a particular sort of warning signal in a way, considering how many athletes had issues with the wrist, Del Potro and Laura Robson, particular shock moments in a way?
MADISON KEYS: No, I feel like wrist surgery is all the rage right now. I feel like everyone is getting it done (smiling).

There was definitely the fear that a lot of players have struggled coming back from it. You know, having to go in for a second one was obviously really scary. But my surgeon was amazing, and the whole time he told me I was going to be fine.

Yeah, I think there is probably something about the racquets and the string and the balls and all of that that sometimes things break down and, you know, I guess we have to go and get them fixed.

Q. You had your injury struggles. Sloane and Kaia tonight. Just speak a little bit about the group of you doing well and making this run on the biggest stage of tennis.
MADISON KEYS: I think even including Venus in there, having her autoimmune disease and coming back from that, I think the game being taken away from you really makes you realize how much you love it, and it takes a lot of the pressure off just because you remember why you do it. And it's not to win matches and make people happy. It's just because you truly love being out there.

I think in a strange way, it was probably one of the best things to happen to all of us, just to remind us how much we love it and just, you know, makes you realize how lucky you are to be able to do this for your job.

Q. Could you talk about what you have to do against CoCo?
MADISON KEYS: I'm going to have to serve really well. CoCo has an amazing serve. Defending that constantly, I'm just going to really have to do everything really well. She's obviously playing remarkably.

You know, the fact that we're playing three times in a row is interesting. Yeah, I think I'm just going to have to stay at my highest level and just wait for my opportunities when they come.

Q. Did you think your serve was at a very high level tonight? You won a lot of points.
MADISON KEYS: Yeah, I think it was pretty good. I think being some break points down, I think I did pretty well to get out of that.

Q. A moment ago you spoke about your feelings of getting to this stage. What are your thoughts on the opportunity, for you as an opportunity, not the overall American opportunity, but for you as an individual, the opportunity you have now?
MADISON KEYS: I have been taking this whole tournament one match at a time, one point at a time.

I'm definitely not getting ahead of myself in that way. I'm really proud of getting here in the first place. I'm just going to keep focusing on the next match and then breaking it down from there.

Q. You have this next match. What's the excitement level to be in it?
MADISON KEYS: I'm really excited. I think, you know, going into this tournament, being in the semifinals wasn't really on my mind, so I'm really happy with getting here, and excited to get out there again tomorrow.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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