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Keys unlocks door to Australian Open

updated 11:40 AM EST, Mon December 17, 2012
American Madison Keys has played at two previous grand slams, winning one match.
American Madison Keys has played at two previous grand slams, winning one match.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Madison Keys claims wildcard for January's 2013 Australian Open
  • The 17-year-old won a qualification tournament in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Keys beat Serena Williams in a professional team competition aged 14
  • Rhyne Williams wins the men's event to reach his second grand slam

(CNN) -- As a 14-year-old Madison Keys announced her potential by defeating tennis' leading lady Serena Williams in a professional team competition.

Next January, as Williams bids for a third consecutive grand slam triumph, Keys will be hoping to make an impact at just her third major tournament after qualifying for the Australian Open.

The American, now 17, earned a wildcard for 2013's first grand slam by beating compatriot Mallory Burdette in the final of a qualification event in Atlanta, Georgia.

"It'd be great to go to Australia and not get killed in the first round this year," Keys, ranked 137 in the world, told the WTA Tour's official website.

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"I'm pretty happy with how I've been playing. I'm just excited to go down to start playing some tournaments again."

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Keys' triumph over Williams, the 15-time grand slam winner who also clinched double Olympic gold at London 2012, came in the World TeamTennis competition.

The team competition pits squads representing different U.S. cities against each other and uses a slightly altered scoring method.

Keys, who became the youngest player in the competition's history, beat Williams while playing for the Philadelphia Freedoms against the Washington Kastles.

The Boca Raton native has won just one match at her two previous grand slams, beating Jill Craybas in the first round of the 2011 U.S. Open.

Rhyne Williams won the men's competition to book his place at the Australian Open, which begins on January 14.

Williams recorded a 7-6(7-4) 5-7 6-3 6-3 win over Tim Smyczek to reach his second grand slam.

The 21-year-old's only other grand slam appearance came at the 2012 U.S. Open. He lost his first round match with fellow American and 2003 champion Andy Roddick in straight sets.

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