French Open glance: Keys, Stephens resume rivalry in Paris

French Open glance: Keys, Stephens resume rivalry in Paris

French Open glance: Keys, Stephens resume rivalry in Paris

The happy-go-lucky American is through to the French Open semi-finals for the first time after a straight-sets win over Yulia Putintseva.

She will face 10th-seeded Sloane Stephens, who had little trouble beating No. 14 Daria Kasatkina, 6-3, 6-1.

Setting up a clash with US Open champion and friend Sloane Stephens brings back memories of the pair laughing and joking after the US Open final, and a query as to whether Keys has ever been considered as too "nice" to go all the way to the top.

The 13th-seeded Keys took down Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan in Tuesday's quarterfinals 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, and Stephens, the No. 10 seed, quickly dispatched of her quarterfinal opponent, 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation 6-3, 6-1. Her forehand is her biggest weapon off the ground, and whilst her large take back can cause her problems on faster court surfaces, on clay where she is afforded more time she is able to confidently and consistently dictate with it.

SIMONA Halep insists she is not scarred by the traumas of three grand slam final defeats, vowing to erase the memories before tackling Sloane Stephens in the French Open decider.

She has yet to lose a set at Roland Garros this year.

Cecchinato struggled to comprehend his triumph, coming just two years after his career was nearly derailed when he became embroiled in match-fixing allegations.

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Putintseva, from Kazakhstan, repeatedly had Keys scrambling at the net with her cute drop shots. "Another great opportunity on Saturday, and I'm really looking forward to it", said Stephens, whose late father, John, was the 1988 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with the New England Patriots.

"This is really exciting for American tennis and I'm really excited to play my really good friend", she said on court. Didn't have a good result in Australia, and I knew that I needed to change some things, and I did that and I had a great result in Miami.

She said: "I think [playing on clay] was still kind of a confusion in the head up until about a week ago (smiling)".

All the hype was over Serena Williams' major comeback at Roland Garros, but it is two of the 23-time grand slam champion's compatriots who will take centre stage on Thursday.

Across the way at Court Suzanne Lenglen, No. 5 del Potro got distracted by a spectator right before a key double-fault, then marched over toward the stands to try to figure out who it was. "So maybe I will have enough power to win it".

"For sure I will let it go [memories of grand slam final defeats], and I will not think about Saturday's match", she said. "It's 'go time.' Until then, we're the same girls as always".

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