The last time Stephens and Keys played each other was on a hardcourt in the Flushing Meadows final when Stephens ended up consoling her tearful friend after demolishing her to claim a maiden Grand Slam title. And then I think we fell into a nice rhythm here again and things are okay.
Keys slipped two breaks down in the second but although she pulled one back Stephens served out for the match. He canceled the third one with a fine drop shot close to the net.
Now Cecchinato, who hadn't won a Grand Slam match until last week, is into the French Open semifinals after humbling Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 7-6 (11).
In the first match of the day, world number 1 Halep became the first tennis player to rise to the finals, after defeating 3rd seeded opponent Garbine Muguruza with 6-1 and 6-4 sets at the end of the fight which lasted 1 hour 32 minutes.
She has admitted that she is having to learn to love the clay, and is now 11-3 on the dirt, whereas a year ago she finished the clay court season 1-4.
"Sloane has looked really good throughout and I thought, when she got by that Giorgi match, you always have one match in a Slam when you don't play your best, how do you handle that situation?" Her forehand is her biggest weapon off the ground, and whilst her large take back can cause her problems on faster court surfaces, on clay where she is afforded more time she is able to confidently and consistently dictate with it.
Keys had the first break chance in the second set and a lightning quick service return gave her the edge as she moved 4-3 up.
Halep in the semi-finals unexpectedly confidently defeated the third racket of the world Garbine Muguruza. An elapsed time of nine months that Keys said feels "more like 12 years" - the natural observation of a player in the midst of a visible growth spurt.
"I think that's a load of crap, but, you know, it's just me. I think there's a difference between being intense and wanting it and fighting and just not being nice, so that's something that I have always stayed true to", the 13th seed explained.
Rock Island native Madison Keys will face good friend Sloane Stephens in an all-American semifinal at the French Open on Thursday at Roland Garros. "I will try my best", Haleptold the crowd at Court Phillipe Chatrier, "and hopefully I will be better than past year". I will think that I will make many people happy.
"I've been getting my own stringing done, today we should practice at this time, let's see who is open". The victor will reach another first - the finals at Roland Garros.