Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys meet in an all-American French Open semi-final clash today in a repeat of last year’s US Open final.
Keys collapsed in their Grand Slam final meeting despite being the higher ranked player at that time. That defeat may still be playing on her mind, but regardless Stephens has looked really strong in Paris and has seen off quality opposition in Anett Kontaveit and Daria Kasatkina in straight sets already.
Keys is yet to drop a set on her way to the last four but she hasn’t faced anyone of Stephens’ class yet after a favourable draw and she may find her compatriot too strong today.
Stephens has won both previous meetings between the two in straight sets and I’m expecting that trend to continue in Paris this afternoon.
England take on Costa Rica in their final World Cup warm-up game this evening at Elland Road in Leeds and I’m expecting a big performance.
Manager Gareth Southgate has said he will rotate his squad in order to give every player a chance before the tournament begins in Russia, meaning there will be a few starters against Costa Rica who know they have to make a statement if they are to start in their World Cup opener against Tunisia.
Costa Rica do have a reasonable defensive record, aside from a 5-0 thrashing by Spain at the end of last year in a friendly, but England should have too much quality.
The Central Americans have conceded first half goals in three of their last five games, losing all three, so I’m backing England to be winning at half-time and full-time in this one.
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