cruise into French Open quarters
Arthur Kapetanakis | June 3, 2018
The 2017 US Open women’s singles finalists are now one match away from a semifinal showdown in Paris, as both Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys stormed into the French Open quarters with dominant wins on Sunday.
Keys opened play on Court Philippe-Chatrier with a 6-1, 6-4 decision over No. 31 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania.
The American overwhelmed her opponent early as Buzarnescu was not able to find the aggressive game that helped her upset No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina in Round 3. The Romanian fought off four set points in set one but ultimately could not stop Keys from wrapping it up in just 22 minutes.
Keys quickly built another 5-1 lead in set two, but once again Buzarnescu responded with her back against the wall. Despite having a pair of match points, Keys was broken for the first time when she served for the match at 5-2, and the No. ADVERTISEMENT 31 seed took care of her serve to make it a contest at 5-4.
In danger of getting dragged into a nervy late-set battle, Keys closed out the match with her fourth ace of the day to book her quarterfinal place.
She won 82 percent of her first-serve points in the 65-minute match.
“My favorite thing [about the match] is, after having match points and not serving it out, having such a great last game and such a good last two points,” Keys told Tennis Channel after the victory.
In the third match on Chatrier, Stephens was even more dominant in a 6-2, 6-0 win over No. 25 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.
With the win, Stephens is now guaranteed to become the top-ranked American woman, ahead of Venus Williams, for the first time in her career when the post-French Open WTA rankings are released.
The 2017 US Open champion needed just 52 minutes to advance against an inconsistent Kontaveit who made 21 unforced errors in just 14 games.
Winning 86 percent of her first-serve points, Stephens did not face a break point while breaking her opponent on five of seven opportunities.
Her quarterfinal opponent will be either Carolina Wozniacki or Daria Kasatkina, with their fourth-round match set to close play on Court Suzanne-Leglen.
For both Stephens and Keys, it is their first career French Open quarterfinal. The two Americans became the 13th and 14th active players to reach the quarterfinal stage at all four majors.
“I think that’s pretty cool,” Stephens told Tennis Channel. “A lot of girls dream of making quarters or semis, and now that I've done that at all four Slams, that's pretty awesome. That was definitely a goal, and I’m glad to finally make it through to the quarterfinals here.”
It is Stephens’ fourth major semifinal and the fifth for Keys. The latter has consistently been in top form at the Slams of late, with her French Open performance backing up a quarterfinal run in January at the Australian Open in addition to her US Open final appearance.
Monday’s action will see Serena Williams and John Isner – the only other Americans still standing in either singles draw – compete for a chance to join their compatriots in the last eight.
Williams will face longtime rival Maria Sharapova in the marquee matchup of the tournament so far, while Isner will face No. 5 seed Juan Martin del Potro in an ATP Top 10 battle.