Wimbledon: Madison Keys walks off in tears after retiring due to leg injury late against Jasmine Paolini

Paolini, who finished second at the French Open last month, advances to quarterfinals

Madison Keys was up 5-2 in the third set on Sunday afternoon, so close to a quarterfinals berth, when her leg injury hit. (Susan Mullane/USA Today)

Madison Keys’ run at Wimbledon came to a brutal end on Sunday.

Keys, being so close to a quarterfinals appearance, instead was sent walking off the court early with tears in her eyes. The American retired late in the third set of her fourth-round battle with Italy’s Jasmine Paolini in England due to a terribly timed leg injury that came on in the final games of their match.

A sad ending to an incredible match 💔

Madison Keys is forced to retire due to injury against Paolini on No.1 Court 😢#Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/p1M80WYLgb — Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 7, 2024

The win sent Paolini, who is fresh off a runner-up finish at the French Open, into the quarterfinals.

“I’m so sorry for her. To end the match like this, it’s bad,” Paolini said in her on-court interview, via The Associated Press. “What can I say? We played a really good match. It was really tough. A lot of ups and downs. I’m feeling a little bit happy, but also sad for her. It’s not easy to win like that.”

After Paolini picked up a big 6-3 win in the first set, Keys came storming back and forced a third set with a 7-6 (6) win in the second. She was right there in the third set, too, and was so close to the win.

Keys served for the match up 5-2 in the final set, but Paolini fought back as Keys’ leg started bothering her more. After Paolini cut the deficit to 5-4, Keys had to stop for a medical timeout to get work done on her leg.

Keys then double-faulted on a break point, which tied the set up 5-5. After Paolini hit for an ace in the next game, with Keys struggling to move, she called it.

Paolini, 28, entered Wimbledon as the No. 3 seed after her incredible run at the French Open. Iga Światek cruised to a dominant win in straight sets at Roland Garros, however, to grab her third straight title at the event.

Paolini, who has two WTA titles in her career, will now take on American Emma Navarro in the quarterfinals on Tuesday after Navarro upset Coco Gauff in her fourth-round match. If Paolini can win that match, she’d be the first Italian woman to ever make the semifinals.

Keys, who has eight singles titles to her name, was searching for a second straight quarterfinals appearance at Wimbledon this summer. She’s made it to a final at a Grand Slam once in her career, in 2017 when she fell to Sloane Stephens at the U.S. Open in New York.

On Monday morning, Keys posted an update on X, revealing that she’d sustained a hamstring injury. She was heartbroken about the result, calling it “one of my toughest moments ever on court.”

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