French Open Women’s Semifinal Preview

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French Open Women’s Semifinal Preview

Madison Keys faces compatriot Sloane Stephens in a repeat of 2017 US Open final

After 128 women started out in the main draw, only four remain. Madison Keys will get her chance for retribution when she faces off fellow American Sloane Stephens for a spot in the French Open final. Keys and Stephens contested the 2017 US Open final, which the Florida-born Stephens triumphed in straight sets. Stephens struggled to reproduce her performance during the fortnight at Flushing Meadows over the remainder of the season. Her start to the 2018 season was blighted by inconsistency and poor form which resulted in first round defeats in Sydney and Melbourne. She bounced back during the American hardcourt season in style when she won the Miami Open, her sixth singles title of her career.
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Stephens had vaulted into the limelight as the next big thing in womens tennis following a fantastic victory over Serena Williams at the Australian Open in 2013. She was 19 at the time, and was met by lofty expectations. But she had since talked about the burden she felt while playing the sport. The 25-year-old suffered a right foot stress fracture in September 2016 which forced her out of the game for almost a year. After entering the 2017 US Open main draw due to her protected ranking, she defied the odds to lift the title. While there was an element of surprise in that win, Stephens had achieved some very impressive results in Toronto and Cincinatti prior to the US Open triumph.

At this year’s French Open, where notable upsets of Ostapenko, Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova have grabbed the headlines, Sloane Stephens has carried a sense of optimism back on the court.  Having passed her first real test against Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in quarterfinals, she will be very wary of her fellow countrywoman wh has been on a rampage.
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Madison Keys is one of two women (along with Garbine Muguruza) yet to drop a set at these championships, and has already knocked out two Americans along the way (Sachia Vickery in R1 and Caroline Dolehide in R2). Keys who is benefitting from Lindsay Dvenport’s coaching expertise will be defiant to turn around the tables on Stephens whom she is yet to beat.

Can Simona Halep put a stop to Garbine Muguruza’s onslaught?

The question on everybody’s lips right now is the remarkable form that Garbine Muguruza has shown at Roland Garros and whether Simona Halep can halt the Spaniard’s run.
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For an hour, Simona Halep had been playing with fire during her quarterfinal match on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Trailing by a set and looking weary against a resurgent Angelique Kerber, the scores flashed that Garbine Muguruza had just outclassed Maria Sharapova on Phillippe Chatrier for the loss of three games. The bare fact that Sharapova took 29 minutes to put herself on the board is a testament to Muguruza’s flawless tennis. While Halep demonstrates unrelenting tennis with her excellent retrievals on near dead balls, that tactic may not work against Muguruza. The 2016 French Open Champion is a clean hitter of the ball, and is playing with such authority. Muguruza had beaten Serena Williams to the title in Paris two years ago, and she has surpassed that form. A title win for the Spaniard would propel her to world no.1 again, but with Simona Halep lurking on the opposite side of net, this could be a titanic tussle that will go down in the record books.

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