And sure enough, we have seen a more tenacious Halep at play over the past year, despite the glaring hole of two Grand Slam runner-up trophies in the space of eight months. Halep also won their most recent battle at the Australian Open where she saved match points to win 9-7 in the third set of their semi-final. Last year, he took the trophy without dropping a set. "I'm excited to play a good semi-finals and it's good that it's tomorrow".
"It's the same thing as always". The momentum began to shift and the Romanian kept pressing all the advantage she got off Kerber's free points even as she moved across and up-and-down the court to gather points. "But before that, we are not going to be weird and awkward and make it, like, weird for each other", said Stephens, who was close to going out in the third round to Camila Giorgi before winning 8-6 in a deciding set.
"When you're writing an autobiography, I don't think there is any reason to write anything that's not true", said Sharapova. "All in all, I don't think anyone can complain". And also physical, for sure, but mental I was strong.
"I didn't play flat any more, more top-spin, and I made her run a little bit more", she said. I think my shots were a lot more forced. "If I do that, I will be okay after the match, no matter the result". "She served a lot better than I did". I think everyone would ask me questions, as well. "Well, trying to be as nice as possible". And the last time they faced off, Stephens won 6-3, 6-0 over her rattled younger opponent to win the US Open. If she can channel that same degree of aplomb and expertise in the semi, Halep doesn't have much of a chance. Keys is all-out attack.
Keys appears to have made more progress in her clay game than any of her semifinal peers, perhaps because she's had the most room to grow.
Keys will have to be patient in this semi-final, and only pull the trigger when she's ready to finish off the point.
That's a fundamental clay-court lesson, but an important one for an instinctive power player like Keys.
Halep is a three-time Grand Slam runner-up, including in Paris in 2014 and previous year; Kerber is a two-time major champ elsewhere; Muguruza won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017; and Sharapova owns five Grand Slam titles, including at Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014. She knows what she's up against, having perfectly described Stephens as "crafty".
Keys has reached the quarter-finals in her last three consecutive Grand Slams as the 23-year-old continues to make strides ahead at the highest level.
Keys has reached the second week in nine of her last 11 Slams.
"I am very pleased to be in another final in Paris", said Muguruza who has yet to drop a set in the tournament and claimed her first win over Sharapova in 4 meetings.
Here's another key category in which Muguruza has the upper hand: 2-0 in major championships.
The top-ranked player indeed showed solid nerves to turn things up after a really bad start in her French Open quarterfinal on Wednesday.