Sloane Stephens downs Madison Keys again to reach French Open final

Sloane Stephens downs Madison Keys again to reach French Open final

Sloane Stephens downs Madison Keys again to reach French Open final

U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens is through to the French Open semifinals for the first time.

Keys briefly rallied to pull one break back, but Stephens did not waste her second opportunity, sealing victory on her first match point with a glorious backhand victor down the line.

Madison Keys was both heartened and frustrated by her performance in her French Open loss to Sloane Stephens, which she described as a marked improvement from her US Open final defeat to the same opponent.

Madison Keys has advanced to her first French Open semifinal by defeating Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (5), 6-4. "And she was hitting so many deep, heavy balls, that I really felt like I was having to go for a lot", said Keys, who is now 0-3 against Stephens.

With the first semifinal already done and dusted, Stephens and Keys were concluding play for the day, with this being the first all-American semifinal at the French Open since Serena Williams overcame Jennifer Capriati at this stage 16 years ago; however, unlike that match, this proved to be a fairly straightforward affair. He's the lowest-seed men's singles player to reach the semifinal at Roland-Garros in 19 years.

"I'm very happy to win in straight sets".

Stephens was sidelined with a foot injury this time last year and Keys was also out following surgery on her wrist - what a difference a year makes.

"I think life came at me fast after the US Open and just kind of regrouping and getting myself together, which I did well, and I started playing better and better", she explained.

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"I think it was a little bit of relief for me after that rain delay and I had to hold that level of energy" He said.

The unseeded Putintseva had the first break opportunity in the seventh game, which she converted when Keys buried a backhand into the net.

"Honestly, the Open feels like it was 12 years ago at this point", the 13th seed said.

"I think I worked really hard coming back and getting in the gym, and when I was chubby trying to get skinny and when I was out of shape getting back in shape", she said after seeing off close friend Madison Keys in the semi-finals on Thursday. "I'm going to have to be the one to try to open up the court and go for my shots".

"But, in the end, it turns out pretty good for me".

Play has resumed in the rain-interrupted men's quarterfinals at Roland Garros, and 10-time champion Rafael Nadal quickly grabbed the second set of his match against Diego Schwartzman.

The imposing Argentine then walked over to the side of the court and began eye-balling a row of spectators. "It's 'go time.' Until then, we're the same girls as always".

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