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Stephens eyes 2nd Slam title, Halep 1st in French Open final

09 June, 2018, 21:34 | Author: Carla Brady
  • American Tennis Player Sloane Stephens

You don't need to be mean to be successful in tennis, and Madison Keys, who qualified for the French Open semi-finals on Tuesday, believes she is the flawless example that nice people can win. I lost to some great players - (Karolina) Pliskova, (Caroline) Garcia. And then I think we fell into a nice rhythm here again and things are okay.

Keys built a whopping 30-12 edge in winners, and won 84 percent of her first-serve points.

This is the first time Keys, a finalist at the United States Open last year and a semifinalist at the Australian Open three years ago, has reached a Grand Slam semifinal not on a hard court.

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

"It's always hard playing someone from your country and such a good friend", Stephens said, "so I was really pleased to be able to get through that and play some good tennis". "We were ready. We prepared a long time for this match".

Keys, seeded 13 in Paris, completed the set of last-eight appearances at all four Grand Slams when she eased past Mihaela Buzarnescu in the fourth round on Sunday to set up a Tuesday quarter-final against the volatile Yulia Putintseva. The world number 72 prevailed 6-3 7-6 (4) 1-6 7-6 (11) in three hours and 26 minutes.

"For sure I will let it go [memories of grand slam final defeats], and I will not think about Saturday's match", she said.

"I think that's a load of crap, but, you know, it's just me. Even playing on clay, it was green clay, which is much faster and much different", she told reporters. "And all of that has just helped me have more confidence". "So to be here from there, I think is rewarding, because those times were not easy".

The 23-year-old struggled last September under the pressure with the US Open title on the line, losing 6-3, 6-0, but she is confident that performance won't affect the match at Roland Garros. It's just how it's happened for me", Stephens said, "I think once I get going in a tournament, I'm pretty consistent, which is good.

Stephens next faces countrywoman Madison Keys in a rematch from the U.S. Open final. It was just two points' difference. Keys predicted, "I'm going to have to be the one to try to open up the court and go for my shots".

Halep, who lost in last year's final, broke the 16th-seeded Belgian's serve six times on Court Philippe Chatrier.

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.

"During treatment yesterday I had Sloane on and was living and dying on every point in the end".



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