Keys needed a tie-break to take the first set, with her power and accuracy eventually too much for Putintseva during a brutal set point.
Madison Keys was both heartened and frustrated by her performance in her French Open loss to Sloane Stephens, which she described as a marked improvement from her US Open final defeat to the same opponent.
Topping the unseeded Yulia Putintseva with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 straight-sets decision on Tuesday, the 23-year-old American has ensured she's on the best French Open journey of her career by coming from behind and taking US representation to the semis.
World No. 98 Putintseva was irked by a call going against her early in the second set and her mood was hardly improved when Keys took control with a break for 4-3.
The 2017 US Open runner-up, who has now reached the semifinal stage at three of the four Grand Slams, having first done so at the Australian Open in 2015, said choosing her moment to swing has been crucial to her challenge here.
Indeed, her Roland Garros campaign this year came close to ending in the third round when Italy's Camila Giorgi twice served for the match and was within two points of winning. That means Saturday's final at the French Open will be Halep's third title match in the past five Grand Slam tournaments.
"I'm very happy to win in straight sets".
"Honestly, (the US Open) feels like it was 12 years ago at this point", she said.
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"I think the biggest thing is just staying so level-headed after being down a break in the first", Keys said.
Putintseva, who committed just 3 unforced errors to 15, struggled to find her range in return in the second set.
"I lost three times until now and no one died", Halep said. "I just try to keep that going".
"There is a lot of times where I feel like she made the ball by a centimeter, and I was missing it. We were ready. We prepared a long time for this match".
That Rafael Nadal reached a record 11th French Open semifinal, closing in on his 11th championship at Roland Garros, was hardly surprising.
Garcia saved four match points when serving while trailing 5-1.
"When we get on the court, it's time to compete", Stephens said. "I think it was still kind of a confusion in the head up until about a week ago".
Maria Sharapova's coach says the Russian player was waiting at courtside, ready to go on, when they got the news that Serena Williams was pulling out of their fourth-round match at the French Open.