?? Roland Garros, SF Preview
?? (10) Sloane Stephens vs. ?? (13) Madison Keys
Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys will renew hostilities when they meet in Thursday’s second semi-final in Paris. The pair famously last met in last year’s U.S Open final, an unexpected match-up that ended in a comfortable victory for Stephens. Indeed, Stephens has won both of their previous matches, both in straight sets, can Keys finally put her game together against Stephens?
Sloane Stephens has generally been untroubled on route to the final 4 in Paris. Stephens started the event with comfortable straight set wins over Arantxa Rus and Magdalena Frech. It was in the third round where Stephens faced her greatest test, a 4-6 6-1 8-6 win over Camila Giorgi. Stephens was on the verge of defeat on several occasions against Giorgi as the Italian twice served for the match in the third set. Stephens has seemingly benefited from her tight win over Giorgi having cruised through her next two matches, a 6-2 6-0 victory over Anett Kontaveit and 6-3 6-1 over Daria Kasatkina book her spot in the semi-finals in Paris for the first time.
Madison Keys will also be competing in the semi-finals in Paris for the first time. Keys is yet to drop a set on route to the final 4, navigating her way through the first week with wins over Sachia Vickery, Caroline Dolehide and Naomi Osaka. Keys battled past a couple of tricky opponents to secure a semi-final showdown with Stephens, a 6-1 6-4 win over Mihaela Buzarnescu and a 7-6 6-4 win over Yulia Putintseva, two mature victories for Keys against opponents with awkward playing styles.
As mentioned above it is Stephens who holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Keys. Stephens thrashed Keys in last year’s U.S Open final, a 6-3 6-0 victory in what was a pretty noncompetitive match. Stephens also beat Keys 6-4 6-2 in Miami in 2015.