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Ladies Tennis From Paris • Stephens vs. Kasatkina and Keys vs. Putintseva • Picks & Preview By “Wildcard”

As the tournament has progressed and the field has narrowly shrunk and funneled out each day, the business end of the 2018 French Open is here as the eight remaining women look to summon their best tennis and calm their nerves to take home the second Grand Slam of the year in Paris. After a dramatic and unexpected first four rounds in the bottom half of the women’s draw, some known names and some fresher ones lie in the quarterfinals, as all four women look to seize the opportunity at a first Roland Garros final.


Here’s what to look for in the two interesting women’s quarterfinals on day ten in Paris:


Sloane Stephens vs. Daria Kasatkina

Two players both possessing the tools and confidence to succeed on clay both have finally lived up to their potential dirt domination as Sloane Stephens and Daria Kasatkina are into their first Roland Garros quarterfinals. Both have had to show their fighting capabilities and also their promising, flashy games on the way to the last eight.

For Stephens, the defending US Open champion has arguably been the most impressive player through the first week and a half in Paris, dominating three of her four matches- including a near-perfect rout of red-hot Estonian Anett Kontaveit in the round of 16- and displaying the commitment and heart that saw her crack the major code in New York in a gutsy, dramatic victory, 8-6 in the third over hard-hitting Italian Camila Giorgi.

A very different opponent from whom the American has faced so far, former French Open junior champion Kasatkina has been equally as impressive during her Parisian run, albeit going about it far differently from Stephens. While the American has achieved her best ever result at Roland Garros with easy power and raw athleticism, 14th-seeded Kasatkina has summoned all her talent to reach her first major quarterfinal, employing her crafty instincts, spin-heavy forehand, and plenty of variety to set up a last eight showdown with Stephens.

Both Stephens and Kasatkina have shown the makings of future French Open champions, but the major experience of Stephens, the reigning title-holder in New York, should help the more seasoned American through to the last four in Paris.

Prediction: Stephens in straight sets


Yulia Putintseva vs. Madison Keys

There is no greater contrast in styles amongst the women’s quarterfinals than this intriguing last eight meeting between 2016 quarterfinalist Yulia Putintseva and 13th-seeded American Madison Keys. While Putintseva relies on her scrappy mentality, defensive skills, and variety to accel on the red clay of Roland Garros, 2017 US Open runner-up Keys’ game is all about big serving and power, a potent combination that has befuddled all who have come before the explosive American.

Through four matches, Keys, a perennial Grand Slam contender, is yet to drop a set, fending off all different kinds of opponents to reach the last eight and with her dominant game, it’s hard to see a matchup with Putintseva being any different. While the scrappy Kazakh’s heavy spins and variety should be able to trouble the hard-hitting of Keys early, the American has developed the experience and confidence to keep going deep in majors, and she’ll get herself a rematch of the US Open final with Stephens in the semis.

Prediction: Keys in three sets

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