By Ros Satar, in Paris

  • Sloane Stephens [10] v Madison Keys [13]
  • H2H: Stephens leads 2-0
PARIS, FRANCE – Reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens is in a rematch with Madison Keys in an all-American semi-final.

 

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Sloane Stephens [10] v Madison Keys [13] | H2H: Stephens leads 2-0

In a rematch of last year’s US Open final, the reigning champion Sloane Stephens will meet Madison Keys once more, this time for the chance to take a pop at the Roland Garros title. Both have been extremely impressive in their rout to the semi-final, and Keys has yet to drop a set.

The joke of whether or not Americans like or can play on clay has been a theme throughout the season, but there is no doubt that both have proved they can handle the challenges of the terre battue.

Keys has been able to find a way to play her powerful game on the slower, at times more predictable surface and she has matured with experience – her shot selection is better and she has been able to work things out quickly on court.

Madison Keys in the quarter-final of Roland Garros, 2018

Madison Keys in the quarter-final of Roland Garros, 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Key’s arrival in the semi-finals is all the more remarkable given her constant battle with injuries, having had to withdraw from Rome before a battle with Simona Halep with a rib injury, as well as struggling with a thigh injury in Miami.

Stephens made her remarkable run coming off a foot injury that had left her side-lines for many months, but also started the season with a left knee injury, withdrawing from Brisbane, but she won the Miami title this year, and both are coming into this semi=final with 11 wins on clay.

Stephens athleticism will test Key’s improved mobility around the court, but a good serving day will give he some free points and put her in a position to dictate the play – if Keys can control her shot selection when put under pressure she should make their first clay court encounter a competitive one.

Stephens has a strong all-court game and is generally a lot steadier – and it is hard to see Keys ultimately being able to overcome the variety that Stephens can bring to the court, but it would be great to see both of play to the best of their abilities on this surface.

While the heart would love to see Keys get the upper hand for once in their three attempts, Stephens just seems to be the steadier of the two, a dropped set notwithstanding.

Prediction: Stephens in three sets.

 

 

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