Wild card Elina Svitolina and No.1 seed Sloane Stephens both defeated home hopes to set a marquee semifinal meeting between former Top 3 players at l'Open 35 de Saint-Malo, a WTA 125 tournament on clay in northern France.
Svitolina raced past Leolia Jeanjean 6-3, 6-1 in just 64 minutes, firing five aces en route. The Ukrainian returned from maternity leave last month in Charleston, and this is her fifth tournament since. Currently ranked No.1088, Svitolina notched the first Top 100 win of her comeback over No.4 seed Ysaline Bonaventure 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) in the second round. This tournament marks the first time since her return that she has won consecutive matches.
Stephens, who also took a wild card into the event after losing to Jaqueline Cristian in the first round of Madrid, had dropped just four games to reach the quarterfinals, where Jessika Ponchet proved her toughest test of the week. The 26-year-old is currently at a career high of No.124, and her unorthodox game forced Stephens to a deciding set before the American advanced 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 in 1 hour and 47 minutes.
The last time Svitolina and Stephens played was in the final of the 2018 WTA Finals Singapore, which Svitolina won 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Svitolina was also the victor in their only previous clay-court encounter, winning 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of Charleston 2014. Their overall head-to-head is level at two wins apiece.
The second semifinal will pit two unseeded players against each other. Greet Minnen ended No.8 seed Emma Navarro's 12-match winning streak 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and will face Katie Volynets, who took out No.7 seed Magdalena Frech 6-3, 6-3. Both players will be bidding to reach their first WTA 125 final.
Watch action from l'Open 35 de Saint-Malo here.