Madison Keys ended the 2016 WTA season with unfortunate injury news as the American required off-season surgery last fall. The start of her 2017 season was delayed as a result, but even after taking to the courts back at Indian Wells 2017 to start her season she didn't exactly play her best tennis following all of her time off. However Keys is starting to play up to her potential again and that should make the former Australian Open semifinalist a threat for the late rounds of the 2017 Us Open.

A couple of weeks ago Keys won WTA Stanford through a respectable draw. It was with this result that she ended a period of poor form.

She had a bye in the first round of Stanford, but defeated Lesia Tsurenko, Garbine Muguruza, and Coco Vandeweghe from the quarterfinals onward. These efforts in Stanford lead her to take a week off last week, missing the 2017 Rogers Cup. But she is in the Cincinnati's Western & Southern Open this week and she posted a win over Vandeweghe again on Monday. That puts Keys into the second round with a better chance to win the tournament than most players.

Keys is dangerous in Cincinnati

The days off that Keys took last week may very well pay dividends this week. She is certainly better rested than Caroline Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina, the two finalists from Sunday in Toronto. If Keys should advance to the deep rounds and play one of those two players then the American would likely be the one with the late-tournament legs and energy.

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But next up for Keys is Daria Kasatkina, a player that the American will not take victory for granted over. The two players are not on Tuesday's order of play so this round-of-32 match will take place on Wednesday from Cincinnati. Looking ahead Keys shares a draw to the quarterfinals at the Western & Southern Open with Garbine Muguruza, the tournament's four seed and last month's Wimbledon champion. That potential match-up is an interesting one as it's not clear where Muguruza is at right now in terms of motivation. After winning Wimbledon she has failed to make the final of either event that she has entered since.

The US Open starts on Aug. 28th

Keys entered this week with a ranking of 17th. However that ranking should be understood to be due to missed time as opposed to being a genuine reflection of her talent. If Keys stays healthy then her chances of doing well at the upcoming 2017 US Open are very good. The last time that she was near her best tennis was about a year ago. She bubbled for an Olympic medal in Rio, made the 2016 Montreal final, won Birmingham, and made the Rome final. If she stays healthy then fans can expect her to challenge the best players on tour in all draws that she enters.