Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Stephens, Keys to meet in rematch; Italian stuns Djoker

   A U.S. woman other than Serena or Venus Williams will play in the French Open final for the first time in 17 years.
   And an Italian man will play in a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time in 40 years. 
   Americans Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys are scheduled to meet in Thursday's semis in a rematch of last year's U.S. Open final, won by Stephens 6-3, 6-0.
   Marco Cecchinato, who had been 0-4 in the main draw of Grand Slam tournaments before the French Open, became the first Italian man to reach a major semifinal since Corrado Barazzutti at Roland Garros in 1978.   
   The 10th-seeded Stephens, who grew up in Fresno, dismissed 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-3, 6-1. Kasatkina, 21, had completed a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory over second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki on Monday in a match suspended by darkness on Sunday.
   Keys, seeded 13th, beat unseeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-6 (5), 6-4.
   Stephens has not lost a set in two career matches, both on hard courts, against her best friend on the tour, Keys.
   On the men's side, the unseeded Cecchinato eliminated 10th seed and 2016 champion Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-6 (11). Djokovic squandered three set points in the second set, a 5-2 lead in the fourth set and three set points in the fourth-set tiebreaker.
   At No. 72, Cecchinato also became the lowest-ranked French Open men's semifinalist since No. 100 Andrei Medvedev of Ukraine in 1999.
   Cecchinato will face seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem for the first time on Friday. Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian, dominated second-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 to reach his third consecutive French Open semifinal. Thiem seeks his first berth in a Grand Slam final.
   The other men's and women's semifinal matchups will be determined on Wednesday (Tennis Channel).
   On Court Philippe-Chatrier, No. 3 seed Garbine Muguruza will face No. 28 Maria Sharapova at 5 a.m. PDT in a clash of former French Open champions, followed by No. 1 Rafael Nadal against No. 11 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. 
   On Court Suzanne-Lenglen, No. 1 Simona Halep will meet No. 12 Angelique Kerber at 5 a.m., followed by No. 3 Marin Cilic versus No. 6 Juan Martin Del Potro.
   Keys, who won the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford last August, and Sharapova, the 2010 runner-up at Stanford, are scheduled to play in the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, July 30-Aug. 5 at San Jose State.
   In the first round of boys doubles today, Joao Lucas Reis Da Silva and Gilbert Soares Klier Junior of Brazil topped Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria and Keenan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento area 6-2, 3-6, 10-6.
   Mayo, 18, has signed a letter-of-intent to attend the University of Illinois.

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