Americans Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys Reach Roland Garros Quarterfinals for First Time
(June 3, 2018) U.S. Open winner and runner-up Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys respectively, have reached the quarterfinals of the French Open for the first time with straight set wins on Sunday in Paris. Both women, who are close friends as well as U.S. Fed Cup teammates, are a win away from meeting in the semifinals.
No. 10 Sloane Stephens brushed aside 25th seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 6-0 in only 52 minutes to reach the elite eight, while No. 13 Keys held back up-and-coming No. 31 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 6-1, 6-4.
Stephens and Keys have now reached the quarterfinals of all four majors in their careers.
“Super cool,” Stephens said of the feat. “Isn’t it exciting? Yeah, doing well here. Obviously doing well at any slam making the fourth round four times or whatever is pretty good, but to finally get over that hump of quarterfinals feels very nice.”
Keys was equally as joyful: “It’s awesome,” she said. “I mean, I can’t really think of another word. This was always kind of the one where it was the most difficult for me, and it was always the toughest one to feel like I could play well here. So to be able to get to the quarterfinals really means a lot.”
Stephens is keeping tabs on her friend Keys as she advances at Roland Garros: ”I think she’s playing well. I mean, she’s, like, really the only person I actually watch because I will be texting her during the match, Come on, what are you doing? But, no, I think she’s been playing well. Obviously in a slam she really gets up, so she’s, you know, going to make — she’s going to make whoever she plays play, and I think that’s what’s great about Maddy.”
“I always want to see Sloane do well,” Keys said after the match. “I’d love for both of us to be able to be in the position to play each other multiple times. I’m always cheering for her.”
Stephens talked about making adjustments in the beginning this match. “Well, it was a little bit of a different matchup so I knew I was going to have to come out and do some things differently. At the beginning I was a little stiff from yesterday, like, I wasn’t really swinging through my shots. And I knew that I needed to really get going so I was taking a whole bunch of practice swings at the back of the court just trying to get myself going. Once I did, I started swinging, and, you know, it worked out well.”
“I think once you get this far (quarterfinals) there is still more to be done, but obviously I think a personal milestone for myself was getting to the quarters, obviously doing well here fourth round a lot of the years in a row. So I think that was something big for me, which is great. But hopefully it doesn’t end here. You’ve got to keep going. I would like to keep going. When I came into the tournament, I wasn’t thinking, oh, make quarterfinals, make whatever. I was just thinking day to day, like, let’s try to figure it out.Yeah, I have figured it out pretty well the last couple matches so I’m going to keep doing that.
“I don’t think that I’m such a great clay-court player,” the Floridian commenting on playing on the surface. “I think I just enjoy playing on it. I think it’s a cool surface. It’s different from all the other surfaces we play on all year long. I mean, I just enjoy it. But like I said, I’m no Rafa (Nadal).”
Keys, who has never been a big fan of her clay court play, is warming up to the surface, she hasn’t dropped a set this fortnight.
“I like it a little bit more now, she said with a smile. “It’s always a little bit easier to like it when
you’re in the quarterfinals, though.”
“That’s something that I have had to get better at in all aspects of my life, especially on the tennis court. So I think it’s become more consistently better for me and something that I’m always going to have to work on, but it’s definitely something that’s helped me become more consistent.”
“Even though it’s still not my favorite surface, I definitely feel more comfortable on it,” Keys continued. I feel like this year especially I have been finding the balance of being a little bit more patient but also playing my game, whereas before I feel like I would go too far one way. That’s the biggest thing of just remembering how I like to play tennis but just maybe adding a couple more shots to each rally.”
Keys will be taking on No. 98 Yulia Putintseva who defeated No. 26 Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-3.
Stephens will play the winner of the match between No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki and 14th seed Daria Kasatkina. The match was called due to darkness with Kasatkina leading 7-6(5), 3-3.