Madison Keys and Peyton Stearns show that USA women know how to win on clay

Keys and Stearns both won clay court tournaments this weekend. Can the US women win a big clay court event like the French Open or the Paris Olympics?
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Congratulations to Madison Keys and Peyton Stearns for winning at Strasbourg and Rabat in the hours leading up to the start of the 2024 French Open.

Keys beat a red-hot Danielle Collins in straight sets on one of her rare off days at the office in 2024 to win her eighth career WTA title. Stearns also won in straight sets over Mayar Sherif, capturing her first WTA career title.

US women have better results on the European red clay than the men. They are winning the small tournaments, but can they win a big one like the French Open or the Paris Olympics?

Why can't the US men conquer the clay?

Andre Agassi was the last American man to win the French Open in 1999. For the better part of the last generation, Rafael Nadal has dominated virtually every clay court tournament he entered with few notable exceptions when Stan Wawrinka, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic got a clay court win.

Nadal's dominance set the American men back, and they are still trying to gain the necessary ground to win on clay even in ATP Masters tournaments much less Grand Slams.

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The women are currently dealing with Iga Swiatek trying to exercise that kind of dominance on clay with back-to-back Madrid and Rome wins this year and three career French Open titles. Keys was one of Swiatek's wins in the Rome quarterfinals losing to the World No. 1 6-1, 6-3.

The question yet to be resolved for the women is if they can beat Iga Swiatek on clay in a big tournament. Swiatek is off this week preparing for the French Open. The US women have shown they can play on clay. The results have been good, but a big win by one of the Top 10 US women (Coco Gauff, Jessica Pegula, Danielle Collins, Madison Keys, Emma Navarro, Sloane Stephens, Sofia Kenin, Caroline Dolehide, Ashlyn Krueger, and Peyton Stearns) in Paris either at this year's French Open or the Olympics is still the missing piece.

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