June 21, 2018

Keys powers past Putintseva & into first French Open SF

09 June 2018, 12:54 | Joan Schultz

Sloane Stephens has a very high peak level on clay

American Tennis Player Sloane Stephens

Stevens looks to win her second major title, after beating Keys in the U.S. Open for her first major previous year. In men's play, the two remaining men's quarterfinals suspended by rain will resume: Rafael Nadal dropped the opening set of his match against 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman 6-4 and was serving for the second at 5-3, 30-15 when play was halted.

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

Her consistently errant groundstrokes allowed Stephens to secure a 6-4 6-4 triumph in and hour and 17 minutes, three-time grand slam runner-up Halep now the only thing standing between her and a second major crown. "I'm definitely liking the clay a little bit more now that I have made a semifinal here".

The two Americans have become good friends as they have followed similar career paths.

"It feels completely different here".

The 25-year-old can be forgiven if she pinches herself.

She clinched the victory on her first match point with a forehand victor from the baseline. "Obviously it's just another opportunity", she said.

"There is a lot of times where I feel like she made the ball by a centimeter, and I was missing it".

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Ranking points will play second fiddle to earning the chance to lift the Suzanne Lenglen trophy in Saturday's final - something Muguruza did in 2016 and what Halep should have done a year ago when she blew a big lead in the final against big-hitting Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.

Sloane Stephens hit 10 winners and converted two break points to take the first set of her last eight clash against Daria Kasatkina 6-3. Keys lost to Stephens, her fellow American and a close friend, in the U.S. Open final in September. The victor will play either top-seeded Simona Halep or third-seeded Gabine Muguruza for the title Saturday. She was hardly more troubled in defeating Poland's Magdalena Frech, dropping just four games in a 6-2 6-2 win.

"I think everything will be normal".

Halep won their only meeting on clay, and she's playing well enough to lead the tournament in break points won (32) as well as first serves returned in play (111). "I think today is a ideal example of what I have been trying to do, and I think it showed today".

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.

Later, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams will face five-time major victor Maria Sharapova on the same court.

Putintseva said: "I think it was pretty solid match".

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