Tuesday at Roland Garros featured the first two women’s singles quarterfinals. Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens set up the first all-American French Open semifinal since 2002 which is at the same time a rematch of last year’s US Open final when Stephens won her maiden Grand Slam title.
By defeating Yulia Putintseva 7-6(5) 6-4, Keys, at 23 years, 113 days old, became the youngest American to reach the French Open semifinals since Serena in 2003 (21 years, 255 days). Kazakh Putintseva was the first player to take a lead in the opening quarterfinal this year in Paris, going 5-3 up with more versatile and precise game, but the 13th-seeded Keys fought back to win the first set in a tiebreak. A break in the seventh game of the second set gave Keys a crucial lead that pushed her into the semis without dropping a set all fortnight.
When she started losing, Putintseva couldn’t keep her composure and arguing with chair umpire over a line call in the second game of the second set only contributed to her frustration.
Tenth seed Sloane Stephens showed an extremely solid game and had little trouble dispatching No.14 seed Daria Kasatkina 6-3 6-1.
The 25-year-old Stephens will now become the No.1 American in the WTA rankings on Monday. Since January 29, 2007, only three women — Serena and Venus Williams and Bethanie Mattek-Sands — have held the American No.1 WTA ranking. Either Serena (519 weeks) or Venus (67 weeks) have held the top American ranking for 586 of the last 592 weeks.
Stephens has won both of her and Keys’ two professional meetings.