Sloane Stephens denied Madison Keys revenge for her U.S Open loss as Stephens cruised into the final of the French Open with a routine victory on Thursday.
Keys said before their semifinal meeting at Roland Garros that her 6-3, 6-0 loss in September’s decider at Flushing Meadows felt like it was “12 years ago”.
However, she must have had a sense of deja vu as her compatriot and good friend Stephens made light work of her on Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a final Saturday against Simona Halep.
As in New York nine months ago, it was a mistake-riddled performance from Keys, who committed 41 unforced errors to Stephens’ 11.
Her consistently errant groundstrokes allowed Stephens to secure a 6-4, 6-4 triumph in and hour and 17 minutes. Three-time Grand Slam runner-up Halep now is the only thing standing between Stephens and a second major crown.
Living the dream!@SloaneStephens reaches her first Roland-Garros final as she defeats Madison Keys 6-4 6-4. Simona Halep awaits in the trophy battle.#RG18 pic.twitter.com/LbFA2R0cxU
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 7, 2018
Stephens struck with the crucial break in the opening set in just the third game as a searing forehand clipped the outside of the line.
Keys attempted to respond three games later as she began picking off the Stephens serve, however, she squandered the two break points that came her way and her profligacy was ultimately punished.
Stephens wrapped up the set with a love hold and broke in the first game of the second as the errors continued to rack up for Keys, who surrendered her serve with a volley into the net.
A comeback never appeared likely and, though Stephens was unable to serve out the match at 5-2 after Keys gifted her a double break, she did so at the second attempt with a precise backhand down the line.
Halep promises to offer a more stern challenge, having won five of her seven meetings with Stephens, but the American will hope the world No. 1 will again falter in the final of a Slam, a stage on which she has so far failed to produce her best.
Stephens  bt Keys  6-4 6-4
Stephens – 9/11
Keys – 25/41
Stephens – 0/1
Keys – 7/2
BREAK POINTS WON
Stephens – 3/7
Keys – 1/3
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Stephens – 62
Keys – 70
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Stephens – 77/61
Keys – 64/45
Stephens – 68
Keys – 56