NEWS

Sloane Stephens to face Madison Keys in US Open final

September 8, 2017

The women's final in the US Open will see Sloane Stephens taking on Madison Keys, with both players chasing their first Grand Slam title. 

An American winner was already guaranteed before the semi-finals with the last four all coming from the home country, but in the event Stephens defeated Venus Williams and Keys overcame Coco Vandeweghe.

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the Championships, Wimbledon next year may reflect that American women's tennis is clearly in rude health, even if Serena Williams struggles to recover her top form after her maternity break. 

With Serena busy giving birth during the tournament, sister Venus was the hot favourite to cap becoming an aunt with an eighth Grand Slam title and her first since 2008. However, having lost the Australian Open and Wimbledon finals, her hopes were crushed in a topsy-turvy semi-final against Stephens. 

The younger American appeared set to breeze into the final when she took the first set 6-1, but Williams stormed back and took the second 6-0. However, the decider was a tight and tense affair, with Stephens finally coming through 7-5.

For Stephens, her run to the final has been an extraordinary achievement after she entered the tournament ranked 83rd in the world, following a long absence for foot surgery.  

After the match, she remarked: "If someone had told me when I started my comeback that I would make two semi-finals and a Grand Slam final I would have passed out. I don't know how I did it. Just hard work."

Madison Keys enjoyed a much more straightforward passage to the final, thrashing Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-2. She will now hope to become the first American woman not called Williams to win the US Open since her coach Lindsay Davenport in 1998.

Speaking about her performance, Keys said: "I knew had to rise to the occasion and I'm just really happy to be in the final."

However, world number 15 Keys did admit she had struggled slightly with a thigh problem, which forced her to take one medical time-out. 

While the New York crowd looks forward to welcoming a new winner, either Kevin Anderson or Pablo Carrena Busta will be making their first appearance in a men's Grand Slam final.

They will play tonight (September 8th) in a clash that could provide the best opportunity either player will get to secure one of the sport's big four prizes, given the absences through injury of past US Open winners like Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and 2016 champion Stan Wawrinka. Murray's statement this week that he is likely to miss the rest of the season - bar a charity exhibition match against Roger Federer in Glasgow next month - means he and the other superstars will be looking to fight back from unusually low places in the rankings when the next Grand Slam takes place in Melbourne in the new year. 

The winner of the Anderson versus Carrena Busta match will face a past winner of the tournament, as 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro seeks to follow his quarter-final win over Federer against Rafael Nadal, who won in 2010 and 2013.

Image: Getty, from Keith Prowse subscription

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