The 10th-seeded Stephens easily dispatched No. 14 Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1 to enter the semifinals.
“I thought I played pretty solid,” Stephens said. “I knew that every time you go into a match there are a little bit of nerves that go into it. I knew I had to come out and keep swinging. Sometimes I start well and sometimes a little sluggish. I knew I needed to keep swinging no matter what, even if it was very close, so that’s what I did. And when I got my opportunity at 4-3 to break, I was like, it’s go time.”
Stephens squares off against her compatriot in a rematch from the US Open final.
The 2018 French Open semifinal is also Madison Keys’ first one after defeating unseeded Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (5), 6-4. The 13th-seeded Keys is one of the few players who has not lost a set at Roland Garros.
“When we get on the court, it’s time to compete,” Stephens said. “But before that, we are not going to be weird and awkward and make it, like, weird for each other. Now I just have to go find her, because I need to tell her some juicy stuff. I just went and searched for her in the training room.
“Yeah, I think everything will be normal. And then when we get on the court, it’s time to compete. It’s go time. Until then, we’re the same girls as always.”
While Putintseva crumbled, Keys stayed calm throughout. She then secured victory on her first match point with a powerful serve that clipped Putintseva’s racket and flew into the crowd.
Putintseva was denied the chance to become the first Kazakhstan player in a Grand Slam semifinal.
But, after losing the first-set tiebreaker, Putintseva lost her cool and struck the ground with her racket in frustration.