Sloane Stephens and Simona Halep will square off against one another in the French Open Final on Saturday.
Stephens defeated Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 to become the first American woman other than Venus or Serena Williams to advance to the French Open final since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.
Halep, who defeated No. 3 Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4, is a two-time runner up.
“She’s No. 1 in the world for a reason,” Stephens said of Halep (h/t ESPN). “I think that we’ll just have to go out and compete. Somebody’s going to win. Someone has to win. Someone has to lose. Just go out, give it your all, and whoever wins, wins.”
“Another great opportunity on Saturday, and I’m really looking forward to it,” Stephens said.
“It’s never easy playing someone from your country, let alone someone you actually, like, care about and you’re friends with,” Stephens said. “It’s very difficult. I think more when I do play Madi, it’s just — on the court it’s very competitive. We are always very competitive. But it’s a little weird. There’s not as much, ‘Come ons’ and things like that.”
“I will try my best and hopefully I will be better than last year” Halep said.
“I’m happy that I can have another chance.”
“It was very nice to play like that,” Halep said. “I’m really happy that I could beat a player like Muguruza. She’s a great opponent, a great player. And it’s always tough against her. I think I played very well. … I played again one of my best matches on clay.”
England’s Emma Raducanu Advances At Wimbledon
England’s Emma Raducanu won in straight sets in her first-round singles match against Alison Van Uytvanck in 101 minutes, winning 6-4, 6-4 in what was her first match on Centre Court to advance at Wimbledon.
“To play on Centre Court and get a win first time, it’s amazing,” Raducanu said following the match, according to ESPN’s Tom Hamilton. “Now every time I go back, I’m just going to have a great first experience.”
“I definitely feel a really good energy,” Raducanu said, who is the reigning US Open champion and ranked No. 11. “Like how can you not playing here? Just walking around, you really feel the positivity. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot in the last year.
“But it hasn’t necessarily all been terrible. I won my first round at every Slam. As a 19-year-old, I pretty much just took my gap year and, like, starting again now.
“If the last year hadn’t have happened, then I think that any 19-year-old walking onto Centre Court would be a positive experience for you. And it was. And I definitely embodied that today.”
Raducanu was wearing an item of clothing from tennis superstar Rafael Nadal’s clothing brand, someone she says she draws inspiration from as he has battled injuries to claim victory at the Australian Open and the French Open this year.
“I think Rafa just embodies fight, that sort of energy,” Raducanu said. “That’s what I’m bringing in. In terms of energy-wise, I think that I have had a tough year, like it’s no secret. It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that.
“I definitely am very happy to be here. All the lessons I’ve taken from the last year will only hold me in good stead for the future.”
Lleyton Hewitt Not Backing Off Davis Cup Criticism
Austalia captain Lleyton Hewitt is not going to back off his criticism of the new-look Davis Cup, standing by his belief that the format should have never been changed in the first place.
“I still feel the same way,” Hewitt said (h/t ESPN).
“In terms of the Davis Cup and how we all knew it … two of the biggest differences and what the competition was all about was home and away ties and matches played over five sets.
“You couldn’t do that in any kind of form in our great game and if you look at the pinnacle of our game, which are the Grand Slams, they are played over five sets.
“But this is a new format and as I said at the start of the year, our boys get to wear the green and gold and play for their country.
“It doesn’t matter if we are playing marbles out there, we’re going to lay everything on the line and do what we can to represent our country and make everyone back home proud.
“In terms of that, nothing changes and we have to go out there and do our best.”
The 18-team, world cup-style Davis Cup event officially kicks off in Madrid on Monday, and the winners from each of the six groups will move on to the quarter-finals on Thursday, along with the two best runners-up.
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Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev Advance to Third Round of Shanghai Masters
Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev both reached the third round of the Shanghai Masters on Tuesday.
The second seeded Federer defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 7-6 (5), and didn’t face a break point, as he continues his quest for a third Shanghai Masters championship.
“I focused and had good energy, because sometimes, you know, when you travel around the globe, you’re missing a bit of energy,” Federer said (h/t ESPN). “Those first few games or matches can be sometimes a bit tricky.
“I think [my] serve was solid. I was hitting my spots and really was never in trouble there.”
Federer and Ramos-Vinolas have history, as the two faced off during the 2015 Shanghai Masters with Ramos-Vinolas pulling the upset victory in a match that still sits with Federer nearly four years later.
“All the time,” Federer said. “The truth, yeah, I was thinking about it. Watched highlights. Remember how it felt. I had my chances. I won many more points that time than I lost, so I should have actually won that match.”
Russian Daniil Medvedev was also victorious as he beat British Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-1 in 54 minutes.
“I’m really happy with my performance, really happy with the score and am really looking forward to the next round,” Medvedev said. “It was my first match here in Shanghai after having a few weeks off, so I was a little bit stressed about how my level would be.
“I managed to get out of there in less than an hour.”
The win continues an impressive streak for Medvedev, who has reached the final of the last five tournaments he’s played in.
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