Living the Dream: Venus Williams Heads to US Open Semifinals

US Open Labor Day Recap: Nadal and Pliskova dominate
Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens win to set up all-American semifinal
Author

13 September, 2017

After beating Vandeweghe in the Stanford final, Keys jumped into her opponent's arms and then sat on her lap.

Vandeweghe's victory means that the US Open will have an all-American semi-final line-up for the first time since 1981 if Madison Keys defeats Estonia's Kaia Kanepi later Wednesday. "We have so many Americans to talk about in the last days of the U.S. Open", Keys said.

Like Stephens, Keys advances to her first Grand Slam final, and the pair will battle for their maiden major on Saturday, live on Eurosport from 9pm BST. The journey I took.

Williams broke straight back with a service return victor and she saved a break point to hold for 5-4.

Pliskova, who is from the Czech Republic, also offered this assessment of Vandeweghe: "She just (has) one plan, so either it's working or it's not". I think we have really helped each other.

Vandeweghe, seeded 20th, reached her only prior Slam semi in January's Australian Open while 15th seed Keys made her lone last-four major at the 2015 Australian Open. "Maybe it's like some Jedi mind trick", said Vandeweghe, who still did not hide her emotions on court, such as when she cracked a racket against the ground after a second consecutive double-fault in the opening set.

"I just worked my tail off and tried to run every ball down and here we are", Stephens said. So I never felt like this before.

It will be the first time since Serena Williams beat Venus in 2002 that a US Open women's final has featured two American players.

The 24-year-old is only the fourth unseeded woman to reach the US Open final in the Open era. Stephens, now 24, was 4 at the time.

"Now I can say I was not playing my best tennis this tournament", she said. "She had it on her racket".

On account of Stevens five breaks, 17 winnershow and 27 unforced errors.

Keys won an incredible 73 percent of points behind her powerful first serves, including 10 out of 11 in the first set.

"That was good, huh?"

Asked if it was tough to get into rhythm against someone who hits the ball as hard as she does, Kanepi responded, "Yes, she did hit quite hard and it was tough to get into the point from her serve".

Soon enough, Stephens was serving out the biggest win of her career - and of this comeback.

Garbiñe Muguruza is set to become the new WTA World No.1 for the first time in her career when the updated rankings are released on Monday, September 11. "On top of coming back after having a big win the other night then all of a sudden being in a match where you're supposed to win".

The only cautionary note for Keys, 22, was a medical timeout to have her right leg taped three games from the end. Her previous best result in a major was reaching the Australian Open semifinal in 2013.

Vandeweghe started the match superbly, claiming a deserved break in the third game, but the 20th seed was forced to save a set point in the 10th game before moving ahead in a tie-break. There wasn't much to give, but Stephens earned it.

But it was Williams who faltered.

Serena Williams missed the tournament as she was expecting her first child.

"There were definitely a lot of dark moments", Keys said. "It's really important when you see the size of the event (the U.S. Open) and the number of tournaments that are played in America on both tours", he said. She's one of the greatest competitors and I'm honoured to share the court with her and glad to play at the same time as her. Stephens won in straight sets.

"It required a lot of fight, a lot of grit", Stephens said of the final set. "And it's not easy playing a friend".


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