Keys and Cornet's one previous encounter was a memorable one, with Keys edging Cornet in an almost three hour battle in what was ultimately a US loss against France in a Fed Cup World Group play-off match in April.
The Turning Point
Keys got the better of Cornet out the gate, breaking the Frenchwoman twice in her first three service games en route to a 4-1 lead.
After a comfortable first set win, Keys won three straight games from 2-1 down in the second to take control of that set, going on to a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
By The Numbers
Cornet's serve was constantly under attack, as she was broken in four of her nine service games.
Conversely, Keys faced just three break points on her serve, and saved two of them.
"I don't have many complaints about today," Keys said. "I definitely played pretty well and stayed in my game for the most part. There are obviously a couple of things that I still want to work on and do better in the next round, but I'm pretty happy with today."
Keys has her maiden showdown with No.5 seed and 2011 Cincinnati champion Maria Sharapova.
"Obviously she's an amazing player and I have never played her before," Keys said. "I'm excited. There shouldn't be any pressure on me. I just have to try to play my best, and hopefully I'll be really happy when I walk off the court.
"I think she's very similar to me in how she plays, so I have always liked watching her. And no matter what the score is, she still goes for her shots. It's amazing how she can get out of trouble so often."