Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

US Open 2017: Madison Keys crushes Coco Vandeweghe to advance to final

US Open 2017: Madison Keys crushes Coco Vandeweghe to advance to final

A rampaging Madison Keys completed an American sweep of the U.S. Open women's quarter-finals on Wednesday, dismissing Estonia's Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-3 to guarantee an American champion at the year's final grand slam.

Stephens is trying to become just the fourth unseeded woman to advance to the U.S. Open semifinals in the Open era, which began in 1968.

Keys will face off against CoCo Vandeweghe, who defeated world number one Karolína Plíšková 7:6 (4), 6:3 in the quarterfinals, while the other semifinal match will pit Sloane Stephens against Venus Williams.

Venus Williams, of the United States, reacts after giving up a point to Sloane Stephens, of the United States, during the semifinals of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in NY.

Playing under a protected ranking, Keys' runs to the semi-finals of both Toronto and Cincinnati have brought her back inside the world's top 100 and her victory over Williams take her into Sunday's showdown on the back of a fairy-tale run of 14 wins from her last 16 matches. "The vehicle ride over, I was definitely feeling it".

"I thought it would be a really special moment".

Moving up to the net more often to kill off the points there, Vandeweghe changed her tactics for the second set as she looked to produce an incredible comeback, similar to Venus Williams' second set blowout of Sloane Stephens in the first semi-final of the night after losing the first set 1-6. "I'm so fortunate to have won that match".

The third set was tense tennis after two lopsided ones, with Stephens continuously running down balls to win long rallies.

Madison Keys faced no such test, overwhelming CoCo Vandeweghe in the other semifinal.

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It's the first time that four American women have reached the semifinals at the US Open since 1981, when Tracy Austin, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Barbara Potter did it. It hadn't happened at any Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon four years after that. "I knew that it was going to be tough", she told reporters about coming back from her 11-month absence.

The two Lopezes, who are not related, won their only major title at the 2016 French Open. We have to admire Serena and Venus, Lindsay (Davenport), Jennifer (Capriati). "Now that we're older, we can put that into words, but we all wanted to be there", Vandeweghe said.

Stephens has played inspired tennis since coming back from the injury and even if she were to fall to the 37-year-old Williams, she would still walk away from the tournament a victor. The American also reached the semifinals at the Australian Open in January.

As for Keys, her whole season has been a fight to re-establish herself after an original wrist surgery in November, which then needed a second procedure at the end of May to release a trapped nerve.

Stephens, 24, reached the semifinal of the Australian Open four years ago.

The 37-year-old Williams is the only member of the quartet who has participated in a Grand Slam singles final.

On Monday, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza will occupy that spot for the first time in her career.

Muguruza won the Wimbledon crown, which matched the biggest victory of her career. In the US Open, Muguruza, seeded third, lost in the fourth round to Kvitova. She said she first felt something in that leg in her previous match but made it sound as if the treatment was simply a precaution. "I can't tell you how many times I have sat in this chair and had to hear, you know, how terrible tennis is in America".

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