Slick Stephens sets up Keys rematch in Paris
Sloane Stephens' best run at the French Open will take her into the semi-finals after a clinical straight-sets win over Daria Kasatkina.
The US Open champion rose to the occasion in her first quarter-final at Roland Garros, beating the 21-year-old Russian 6-4 6-1 in only an hour and 10 minutes on Tuesday.
Stephens overpowered the 14th seed in an assured performance on Court Philippe Chatrier and has dropped just the one set in Paris.
The American will now face friend and compatriot Madison Keys in a rematch of their final at Flushing Meadows, where she claimed a first major title last September.
Kasatkina showed flashes of her all-round quality, but the promising youngster's best grand-slam run ended in the last eight.
Aggressive 10th seed Stephens reached to her right to put away a superb volley as she broke to take a 3-1 lead.
A nimble Kasatkina had to return on Monday to finish off her fourth-round clash with Caroline Wozniacki, but showed no signs of fatigue, breaking back when Stephens ended a long rally with an over-hit forehand.
She was broken straight back, though, after Stephens unleashed a rasping forehand and went a set up when her opponent steered a forehand into the net.
Kasatkina was undeterred, showing her class with a blistering cross-court forehand winner as she held in the first game of the second set.
Stephens screamed after forcing an error from the youngster with a fierce inside-out forehand and there was a fist pump after she broke for another 3-1 lead.
An exquisite backhand drop shot from Kasatkina brought roars of appreciation from the crowd, but Stephens broke again with a brutal cross-court forehand winner and came up with another to sail through.
Stephens  bt Kasatkina  6-3 6-1
Stephens – 17/18
Kasatkina – 10/25
Stephens – 0/0
Kasatkina – 0/2
BREAK POINTS WON
Stephens – 5/7
Kasatkina – 1/1
FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE
Stephens – 83
Kasatkina – 75
PERCENTAGE OF POINTS WON ON FIRST/SECOND SERVE
Stephens – 63/78
Kasatkina – 49/36
Stephens – 64
Kasatkina – 43