By Ros Satar

  • Venus Williams [9] v Sloane Stephens
  • Coco Vandeweghe [20] v Madison Keys [15]
NEW YORK, USA – The final Slam of the year will be guaranteed a home winner as all four American women left in the draw made it through to the semi-finals.

 

Venus Williams [9] v Sloane Stephens – Stephens leads 2-0

Sloane Stephens, US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

Photo by Dave Shopland/BPI/REX/Shutterstock | Sloane Stephens US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

First up it is a battle between former US Open champion Venus Williams, and the returning Sloane Stephens, who only was able to start even hitting balls again in May after a foot injury.

Williams’ resurgence this year, after years of illness and injury left many fans wondering if she would ever regain her best tennis has been one of many come-back triumphs of the year. Starting the year against sister Serena Williams in the Australian Open final was but one highlight, and her run to the Wimbledon final backed up a year of healthy, solid play.

Venus Williams US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

Photo by AP/REX/Shutterstock |
Venus Williams US Open 2017, Flushing Meadows, New York

On paper she ought to look like the form player, but Stephens has been on quite the tear. While she comes in with a world ranking of 83, after an 11-month lay-off from the tour with a foot injury and subsequent surgery, she has won 13 out of her last 15 matches.

We would run out of fingers and tows to work out just how many Slam semi-finals Williams has triumphed in, and with Stephens 0-1 on her side of the record, Williams comes in as the favourite, yet it is Stephens who leads their head to head, albeit one walkover, and one Slam win at Roland Garros in 2015.

Both hit the ball hard, and play strong off both wings. Williams court coverage and feel at the net thanks to her doubles prowess is perhaps her greatest attribute, but Stephens has proved time and again just how speedy she is around the court. Her confidence in her movement after the foot injury that saw off the tour for almost a year is absolute.

While Williams has the experience, Stephens is still hitting free with absolutely no expectations, and actually appears to be more mature with her on court decisions and emotions – able to close out a tough win in the quarter-final. Stephen’s coach since January 2016, Kamau Murray has a lot to be proud of – can she give him the ultimate prize?

Prediction: Stephens in three sets.

 

US Open 2017 Women’s Semi-Final Fact Box Venus Williams [9] v Sloane Stephens
Head to Head? Stephens leads 2-0
What time is Venus Williams v Sloane Stephens? Arthur Ashe Stadium, not before 7pm (Midnight Friday, BST)
Where/How to watch Williams v Stephens? Eurosport/Eurosport Player (web/app) |

Tennis on UK TV

Follow Live Online | http://bit.ly/BritwatchTennisLS

 

Coco Vandeweghe [20] v Madison Keys [15] – Keys leads 2-0

If we have a battle between young and young at heart above, then we have a battle of the present and correct right now. Already clashing in Stanford, as Madison Keys collected her first non-grass court title, the pair who also turn in a great line in banter clash once more, this time for a spot in the biggest match of their careers.

Coco Vandeweghe has hustled and bossed her way past a few notable names including a tough three setter against Agnieszka Radwanska, and knocking out the current World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, thus assisting Garbiñe Muguruza’s ascent to the top spot when next week’s rankings come out.

Madison Keys & Coco Vandeweghe share a laugh after Keys wins WTA Stanford Bank of the West Classic

Madison Keys & Coco Vandeweghe | Anita Stahl / AnitaCaptures.com

Keys has once more struggled with injury this year, but has lit up the New York nights with some grit and determination, as she plays in just her 10th tournament of the year after having surgery on her left wrist at the end of last season, which also caused her issues earlier this year in Stuttgart. She has also overcome a left forearm issue which caused her to withdraw from Toronto.

Keys and Vandeweghe will be battering the fluff off the poor defenceless tennis balls in the second of the US Open semi-finals scheduled for Thursday night, and she has had the measure of Vandeweghe both times they have played, both encounters this year. After bearing Vandeweghe in Stanford in the still early days of her partnership with Pat Cash, Vandeweghe put up a more resolute fight in Cincinnati, pushing Keys to three sets.

We can expect more of the same, but the relationship between Cash and Vandeweghe really seems to be rounding out to good form on the big stage. Keys (under the guiding hand of Lindsay Davenport) looks to come into the  match with momentum on her side.

Prediction: Keys in three sets.

US Open 2017 Women’s Semi-Final Fact Box Coco Vandeweghe [20] v Madison Keys [15]
Head to Head? Keys leads 2-0
What time is Coco Vandeweghe v Madison Keys? Arthur Ashe Stadium, not before 8:30pm (Friday 1:30am, BST)
Where/How to watch Vandeweghe v Keys? Eurosport/Eurosport Player (web/app) |

Tennis on UK TV

Follow Live Online | http://bit.ly/BritwatchTennisLS

The US Open women’s semi-finals take place at 7pm (Midnight Friday, BST)

Main Image: Photo by Rob Prange/REX/Shutterstock

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