NEW YORK, NY, USA - Madison Keys gauranteed an American woman will win the 2017 US Open, not only reaching her second career Grand Slam semifinal, but also solidifying an the first all-American semifinal slate in New York since 1981 with a 6-3, 6-3 win over former World No.15 Kaia Kanepi.
"This feels really good," an elated Keys said in her post-match press conference. "The fact that there is going to be two all-American semifinals, two people in the finals in Saturday, and there are lots of young up-and-comers. I think there is a lot of good American tennis to come."
You have to go back to the days of Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova to find the last time four American women reached a Grand Slam semifinal at the 1985 Wimbledon Championships, but after three straight US victories in the last 48 hours, Keys brought it home in 68 minutes with a decisive win over the dangerous Estonian veteran.
"I can't tell you how many times I have sat in this chair and had to hear how horrible tennis is in America."
Saving all three break points faced, the 23-year-old had every answer to Kanepi's powerful ground game, one that brought her through qualifying and to impressive wins over youngsters like Naomi Osaka and Daria Kasatkina en route to her sixth Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance - and first at the US Open since 2010.
"I think she was just better today," Kanepi said in press. "She was serving really good. She did hit quite hard, and it was tough to get into the point from her serve."
Keys had never made it this far at her home Slam, but made the moment count in her third straight win over the lights, striking 23 winners to 21 unforced errors and a whopping eight aces to book a rematch of the Bank of the West Classic final against CoCo Vandeweghe.
"I'm going to have to serve really well," Keys said. "CoCo has an amazing serve. I'm just going to really have to do everything really well. She's obviously playing remarkably.
"The fact that we're playing three times in a row is interesting. I think I'm just going to have to stay at my highest level and just wait for my opportunities when they come."
Vandeweghe earned a shock win over top seed Karolina Pliskova to start play on Arthur Ashe Stadium, ensuring that reigning Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza would become the 24th woman to ascend to World No.1 on Monday's rankings.