Sloane Stephens to face Simona Halep in French Open final after overcoming Madison Keys
US Open champion Sloane Stephens will bid to become a double Grand Slam champion after overcoming Madison Keys 6-4 6-4 in the French Open semi-finals.
While Stephens will bid for a second major title in her second Grand Slam final, Halep is chasing her first major victory after two defeats in the French Open final in 2014 and 2017 plus a defeat to Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final in January.
In the first all-American Roland Garros semi-final since 2002, the 10th-seeded Stephens stayed composed throughout as Keys, who has not won a set against her in three meetings, peppered the court with unforced errors.
Stephens had never gone past the fourth round in Paris, but repeating her win over Keys in last year's US Open final gives her the chance of double glory.
Regardless of the result, the 25-year-old Stephens will become the first American to break into the top five in the WTA rankings since Lindsay Davenport - Keys's coach - in 2006.
"It's always hard to play someone from your country and such a good friend, but I'm happy I played my tennis," Stephens said.
"This is one of my favourite tournaments and I'm looking forward to Saturday. Merci Paris, je t'aime."
After a timid start, Stephens found her rhythm and took control of the opening set by breaking in the third game with a forehand winner down the line.
But Keys, who made 23 unforced errors in the first set, hit back hard and set up a break point at 3-2, only for Stephens to save it with a service return winner.
Stephens continued to dominate and broke in the first and seventh games of the second set to put herself in a position to serve for the match.
Keys briefly rallied to pull one break back, but Stephens did not waste her second opportunity, sealing victory on her first match point with a glorious backhand winner down the line.