Tennis

Four women who are set for more after Paris

Roland Garros semi-finalists can light up the women's game for years

Garbine Muguruza may have lost her French Open semi-final 6-1, 6-4 to Simona Halep last night, but I believe that all four semi-finalists at Roland Garros, including Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys, are extraordinary players who can compete at the highest level on any surface.

Muguruza was a champion in Paris in 2016 and won on grass at Wimbledon last year, while Stephens lifted the US Open trophy on the hard courts after beating Keys last year.

Halep has made it to the finals of Roland Garros twice before and challenged Caroline Wozniacki in an epic final at the Australian Open on hard court at the start of this season.

They show the current strength and depth in women's tennis, and there is now a steady and familiar group of faces making repeated appearances in the final rounds of WTA events and Grand Slams.

Muguruza had to overcome the fearsome Williams sisters to win both her Grand Slam titles. She defeated Serena in the final, dropping just one set en route to the French Open crown in 2016 and followed that up at Wimbledon last year by beating Venus.

Halep is a two-time finalist at Roland Garros, and was also runner-up at this year's Australian Open. The world No. 1 has the most wins on the WTA Tour this season, and has been playing with more confidence than ever.

It is an exciting time for the America in tennis, with Keys, 23, becoming the youngest American to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros since Serena in 2003 at the age of 21 years and 255 days. This is Keys' best-ever performance at the French Open, and she has come this far without dropping a set.

Halep, Muguruza and Keys have been among the Greatest Eight at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global...” Melissa Pine on the French Open semi-finalists

Win or lose, a spot as world No. 4 in the WTA rankings awaits Stephens at the end of the semi-finals - the last American to hold a top 5 ranking other than the Williams sisters was Lindsay Davenport in April 2006.

The ultimate underdog at the 2017 US Open, she had nothing short of a fairy-tale run as she lifted her maiden title ranked No. 83 and unseeded.

Halep, Muguruza and Keys have been among the Greatest Eight at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, and Stephens certainly looks like she will make her debut at the fifth and final edition in the Lion City.

These semi-finalists herald a bright future for women's tennis as the excitement of the Porsche Race to Singapore continues to unfold.

  • Melissa Pine is the vice-president of WTA Asia-Pacific and the tournament director of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. She is also a former NCAA player at Washington State University and served as assistant coach of the team post-graduation. To find out more about the WTA Finals, visit www.wtafinals.com
Tennis