Keys rallies back to beat Putintseva and reach Paris semi-finals

American Tennis Player Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens has a very high peak level on clay

Sloane Stephens maintained her flawless record against fellow American Madison Keys as she blazed into the French Open final with a 6-4 6-4 win on Thursday in a repeat of last year's U.S. Open final.

The 10th seed, who beat Keys to win the U.S. Open last year, showed impressive patience in some cat-and-mouse exchanges and eventually overpowered the 21-year-old with her bigger game.

Burning question: Can Keys wipe her hard drive clean when she squares up 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.

But the greater power of Keys paid dividends in the breaker, as the American finally took the opener on her fourth set point with her 18th victor. "But I'm still trying to find the right person". It was just two points' difference.

Novak Djokovic lost the opening set of his quarter-final against Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-3, with the 12-times major victor appearing to struggle with a neck problem midway through the contest.

"First of all, do you know how expensive rent is on the Champs-Elysees?"

In a clash for a place in the Roland Garros semifinals, two bright young talents in the women's game face off in the second match on Chatrier. Keys broke in the seventh game of the second set to maintain her ideal record in Paris, not dropping a set thus far.

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Serving for the match, Halep dropped her serve for the first time. When we get on the court, it's time to compete.

She clinched the victory on her first match point with a forehand victor from the baseline.

She twice has lost in the final at Roland Garros - to Maria Sharapova in 2014 and to Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 - and was the runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open in January.

Keys has now bettered her best run in the French capital, advancing to the second week of a Slam in nine of her past 11 outings.

On facing Halep in Saturday's final, Stephens said: "I'm expecting her to compete".

Top-seeded Simona Halep advanced to the French Open quarterfinals for the third time by beating Elise Mertens 6-2, 6-1. She will next play 10th-seeded Sloane Stephens.

Makarova played alongside countrywoman Anna Kalinskaya and Vesnina teamed up with Jelena Ostapenko at Roland Garros. It was yet another example of just how commanding the 24-year-old former French Open champion can be when she's keeping self-doubt at bay. "I was close to quit".

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