Two of the rising young stars who are destined to shape the future of women's tennis tested themselves against members of the current hierarchy in the third round of the Australian Open on Friday -- and quickly realized they had more to learn.
American Madison Keys, all of 17 years of age, showed plenty of potential but went down 6-2, 7-5 to fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany, who was celebrating her 25th birthday. Meanwhile, Britain's 20-year-old Heather Watson lost 6-3, 6-1 to perhaps the hottest player in the world, No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, now 12-0 on the season.
Keys has grown into a formidable young athlete from the little 13-year-old I used to watch being put through her paces by John Evert at the Evert Academy in Florida. There seems little doubt that she has the tools to make quick strides up the ranking list from her current position of 105.
Just like Laura Robson the previous evening, Keys looked nervous in the daunting surroundings of the Rod Laver A...