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BIRMINGHAM, England – Madison Keys, the young American described last year as a future world number one by Serena Williams, showed her ability to make an impact on the new grass court season by avenging herself on an old rival.
The 21-year-old Floridian showed the ability to think on her feet which recently helped her return to the world's top 20, overcoming a first set mini-crisis and Timea Babos in the first round of the Aegon Classic, a Wimbledon warm-up event.
After moving swiftly into a 5-2 lead against a Hungarian opponent who beat her here two years ago, Keys faltered while trying to serve out for the set, and then slipped to a 0-3 tie-break deficit.
"I was rushing too much," admitted Keys. "But after that I got a read on her serve and served better myself.
"I'm more confident after the clay court season when I learnt how to figure stuff out better," she said, referring to a sequence in Rome in which she overcame Garbine Muguruza, shortly afterwards to become French Open champion.
"I would like to think I can win a trophy or two, but the main thing for me is to focus on consistency."
She could face Petra Kvitova, twice a Wimbldon champion, in the quarter-finals.
Another rising star, 19-year-old Belinda Bencic, the youngest player in the top 10, showed she also talks a good game.
Bencic made her comeback after two months out with four matches on grass at den Bosch in The Netherlands, last week and begins tomorrow against Irina-Camelia Begu of Rumania.
The fourth-seeded Swiss player reckons she can improve on that here and repeated a belief that she can repeat her Toronto victory over Serena Williams last year.
"I gave her too much respect when I first played her but now try to ignore who she is," Bencic said. "I wouldn't want to play her at Wimbledon this year because it would be something like in the first round. But it might be nice to beat her in the final one day."