PARIS — Sloane Stephens was nowhere near Roland Garros a year ago. She was in Chicago, working her way back from a foot injury that required surgery and sidelined her for 11 months.

“Indoors on a hard court. Getting ready for grass. Barely walking. Playing tennis next to a bunch of 5- and 6-year-old screaming kids,” her coach, Kamau Murray recalled. “So to be here from there, I think, is rewarding, because those times were not easy.”

The times are good now. Stephens closed in on her second Grand Slam title by beating pal Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday in a rematch of the U.S. Open final won by Stephens.

The 10th-seeded Stephens’ opponent in Saturday’s final is Simona Halep, who emphatically ended the impressive run of 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza by defeating her 6-1, 6-4.

Halep, who assured herself of retaining the No. 1 ranking with the win, earned a fourth chance to win her first major title.

She twice has lost in the final at Roland Garros – to Maria Sharapova in 2014 and to Jelena Ostapenko in 2017 – and was the runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open in January.

“I lost three times until now and no one died,” Halep said, “so it will be OK.”

Rafael Nadal rallied back to beat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 6-2 and conclude their rain-hit quarterfinal on Thursday for a place in the elite final four.

Schwartzman crumbled with a stack of errors in the fourth to concede a double break, but after Schwartzman offered some resistance, Nadal went in for the kill with a fierce forehand to complete a 3-hour, 42-minute battle.

“The stop yesterday helps, because it was in a tough moment of my match,” Nadal said.

He will now face another Argentine, Juan Martin del Potro, in Friday’s semifinal, after Del Potro conquered Marin Cilic 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.