Keys and Stephens set up all-American semi-final

Jun 09, 2018, 21:33
Keys and Stephens set up all-American semi-final

She shoved aside compatriot Madison Keys 6-4 6-4 in a rematch of the Flushing Meadows final in September on Thursday and is typically candid when assessing the Halep challenge.

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. And now I don't have any words to describe this moment.

Thiem routs tired to reach third straight semi-final The 13th-seeded American, who had 30 winners, called the shots in an exchange where her opponent went with tidy, finishing with ten unforced errors and 12 winners.

She regrouped and got headed back in the right direction.

The American 13th seed, playing in her third consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, was 5-3 down in the first set when she stepped up a gear to advance without having lost a set.

This match was a rematch of the final at Flushing Meadows from September past year where Keys won just three games in a match where Stephens secured the title after just one hour of play and did prove to be more competitive. Breaking that habit has been part of a larger maturing process that boils down to this: be your own boss.

So I think it's become more consistently better for me and something that I'm always going to have to work on, but it's definitely something that's helped me become more consistent. "I think it was still kind of a confusion in the head up until about a week ago". I think that's a load of crap, but, you know, it's just me (smiling).

She said it with a smile that had a steely quality to it, carried over from her high-quality match with the unseeded Putintseva.

Keys was the first to secure a last-four berth by downing Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 7-6 6-4.

Play has begun at the French Open with top-seeded Simona Halep first up on a sunny Court Philippe Chatrier. Yet even when she fell behind 0-2 in the tiebreak, Keys' expression remained stoic. The Russian-born, Florida-based Kazakh player took exception to just one service call and smiled warmly at Keys when they shook hands over the net. "She's No.1 in the world for a reason", the American said. "Moments like that, and especially in matches like today, really show me that I'm good at playing on clay, but I can also be aggressive and still play my game". Putintseva defeated Keys in their only previous meeting, 7-6 in the third set in Tokyo in 2016. "I will try my best", Haleptold the crowd at Court Phillipe Chatrier, "and hopefully I will be better than past year". "I'd love for both of us to be able to be in the position to play each other multiple times".

This match should feature no shortage of excellent rallies, with Kasatkina and Stephens both amongst the best movers on Tour.

No surprise then that the charismatic Stephens is not getting too far ahead of herself for Saturday's final against two-time runner-up and world number one Halep. "Obviously it's just another opportunity", she said.

It's an interesting scenario to load onto a friendship, but neither woman seemed fussed about that.

"Now I just had to go find her, because I need to tell her some juicy stuff. She comes in with a lot of momentum", said the American.