After an all-American, all-Olympian women’s semifinals at the US Open, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys will now each be appearing in a Grand Slam final for the first time ever.
“It couldn’t really get any better than this, could it?” Keys said during the on-court interview after beating CoCo Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-2 to win the last semifinal of Thursday night at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Earlier in the night, Stephens topped veteran Venus Williams 6-1, 0-6, 7-5.
Stephens and Keys will meet for the title at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Stephens, 24, dominated the first set and Williams ruled the second before a hard-fought and thrilling third set that featured a slew of ties and break points.
Williams, 37, had the momentum heading into the third set, but Stephens came back sharp and determined, broke serve in the first game and took a 2-0 lead.
After a hard-fought fourth game, however, the set was tied, 2-2. It remained tied after six games, too. Stephens then broke serve again to take a 4-3 lead, but then Williams went up 5-4 and was two points away from winning. From there, Stephens rallied to win three games in a row, denying Williams her third Grand Slam final this year and the chance to play for her eighth Grand Slam title of her career.
Keys, 22, was in the driver’s seat from the very beginning of their semifinal match, which didn’t start until 10 p.m. It took just 23 minutes for her to win the first set, however, taking a 5-0 lead over Vandeweghe, 25, before eventually winning 6-1.
Keys took a 3-1 lead in the second set and then broke serve on a two-handed backhand to go ahead 4-1. After Keys took an injury timeout and came back with her right thigh taped, she won the sixth game to move within one of stamping her entry to the final. Vandeweghe made it 5-2, but Keys ended the match in the next game.