NEW YORK, NY, USA - Venus Williams battled into her ninth US Open semifinal on Tuesday night, and will be one of four American women to fight for the title in Thursday’s semifinal showdowns. Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, and CoCo Vandeweghe are all in their second career Grand Slam semifinal, having each made the final four at the Australian Open in 2013, 2015 and 2017, respectively.
WTA Insider profiles the trio of youngsters each looking to make their major breakthrough at their home Slam.
Sloane STEPHENS, 24
- Stephens is 13-2 in her last three events, having reached the semifinals of back-to-back Premier 5 events at the Rogers Cup and Western & Southern Open.
- Off the tour for 10 months healing a foot injury that required surgery, she lost the first two matches of her comeback, but has since jumped up 920 spots in the WTA rankings in the last four weeks and can be ranked as high as No.15 should she win the title.
- Since Wimbledon, her only three losses have been to woman currently ranked inside the Top 5 (Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki).
- She leads the remaining field in percentage of returns in (84%).
Madison KEYS, 22
- Keys is the youngest of the four semifinalists, and was one of 10 women aged 22 and under to reach the third round. She was famously inspired to start playing tennis after seeing Venus Williams play, coveting the dress she was wearing.
- She endured two surgeries on her left wrist, the latest coming between the French Open and Wimbledon, where she lost in the second round to Camila Giorgi.
- After Wimbledon, Keys won her first career hardcourt title at the Bank of the West Classic, playing and beating CoCo Vandeweghe for the first time in her career; the pair met again two weeks later in Cincinnati and will play for a spot in the US Open final (Keys leads 2-0).
- Keys has won her last three matches at night, rallying from the brink of elimination against Elena Vesnina and Elina Svitolina in a pair of late night finishes; the win over Vesnina was the second latest finish for a women’s match in US Open history (three minutes short of Keys’ record set last year against Alison Riske).
- Along with Venus, Vandeweghe is the only woman to make more than one Grand Slam semifinal in 2017, and reached the quarterfinals or better at three of the four major tournaments this year.
- She has a 2-1 record against reigning WTA World No.1s, beating Angelique Kerber en route to the semis in Melbourne and top seed Karolina Pliskova on Wednesday - both in straight sets.
- Vandeweghe leads the remaining field in first serve winning percentage (76%) and service games won (81%).
- She began working 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash after the French Open, and hired a mental coach in July.
- At her first US Open, she watched big-hitting American James Blake and has always been inspired by power tennis, preferring Roger Federer and Pete Sampras to Rafael Nadal and Andre Agassi. “My game was modeled off of Sampras, at least my serve. So I think I have spent more time watching Sampras than I did Agassi. I will probably get some crap for that one.”