The Australian Open champion, who’s a huge favourite with pay per head sportsbooks, received a bye in the opening round and then a walkover in round two, and the player showed some signs of wear during her hard-fought match with the US teenager.
Keys, from nearby Boca Raton, threatened the world No 2 several times, but price per head services saw that she ultimately couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities given to her.
“I think it was a pretty tough match, she played well, big serve, big forehand, especially when she was 3-1 down and then came back (to) 5-3 and served for the first set,” Li said.
“During that time I didn’t think about too much. I said, ‘OK try to hit the ball, try to do what you have to do and save the set point’.
“I think this maybe changed the match a little bit because after that I was feeling (that) she dropped a little bit.”
Pay per head sportsbooks saw that Li had a good start in the first set, and she moved a break up before Keys reeled off four games in a row, taking control. But the second seed fought her way back into contention, taking the set in a tie-break.
Keys again had Li under pressure early in the second set, but the player fell apart after taking a lead of 2-0.
“She’s No 2 in the world for a reason. She just won Australian Open for a reason. She’s a great player,” Keys said.
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“I played well at times and she just played the bigger points really, really well. There is a lot to be happy with but there is also some stuff I need to work on.”