Keys makes quick work of Babos to advance

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Third Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 24, 2020 - Madison Keys of the U.S. reacts after losing the match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari. REUTERS/Issei Kato

(Reuters) - Madison Keys needed just 55 minutes to beat Timea Babos 6-1 6-1 and advance to the second round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday as the 2017 finalist looks to claim her elusive first Grand Slam title.

The hard-hitting American won 92% of her first serve points and never faced a break point while playing smothering defense against the overmatched Hungarian.

The 25-year-old Keys, who drew comparisons to 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams when she joined the tour in 2009, has been consistently ranked in the top 25 and won five titles.

But the lack of a Grand Slam title has cast a shadow over her career.

She fell to fellow American and friend Sloane Stephens in the final at Flushing Meadows three years ago, her closest brush with Grand Slam glory.

The absence of six of the top 10 women’s players at this year’s tournament could open the door for the seventh seeded Keys, who will face either Jil Teichmann of Switzerland or Aliona Bolsova of Spain in the second round.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Stephen Coates