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Childhood friends Madison Keys and Danielle Collins to contest Strasbourg final

Madison Keys will play in a red-clay final for the first time since 2016 against her fellow American and former pen pal Danielle Collins.

Fourth seed Keys, the 2017 US Open finalist, coasted to a 6-1 6-3 semi-final victory against Liudmila Samsonova at the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

Keys' previous clay-court final in Europe came as an unseeded 21-year-old in Rome when she defeated two top-10 opponents before losing to Serena Williams.

Third seed Collins overcame Ukraine's Anhelina Kalinina 7-6 (3) 6-2 in the second semi-final. Kalinina was forced to play two matches on the day.

"I was excited to come here after Rome and playing some great tennis on clay... having some great matches under my belt this clay-court season and playing some tough opponents," Collins said afterwards.

"It was a tough battle. I definitely felt for her today, having to play two matches in one day ... and I thought she did really well, moving well, hitting her shots well. I felt for her in the end, because I think the fatigue started to kick in a little bit. It's sad when that happens, because she had such a great tournament."

Looking ahead to her battle against Keys, Collins added: "Madison and I have known each other since we were 10, we used to be pen pals and write little letters to each other.

"Our moms are both from Iowa and bonded over that at the junior tournaments, so we are good friends and I'm excited to play her in the final."

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