Sevastova loses to Stephens in US Open 1/4

Without doubt, it has been Venus' best season in slams for years and even she has found it hard to get to the bottom of the reasons behind her terrific form, when quizzed in press conferences.

"Keys, Stephens and Vandeweghe were like nine, that makes the difference".

Aside from her title wins at the start of the last decade, Venus has failed to win any of her four other semi-finals outings in Manhattan, as well as two other finals (1997 and 2002).

Williams, whose first Slam final was on Ashe 20 years ago, will return to the world top five for the first time since January 2011, her highest level since being diagnosed with the strength-sapping illness Sjogren's Syndrome. She has risen 851 places in the rankings since August, having made her comeback at Wimbledon this summer after being sidelined for 10 months with a stress fracture in her foot. "I just knew if I continued to play my game I would have an opportunity and that's what I did".

Venus couldn't quite produce her best in the Wimbledon final. It was a very good match.

Stephens took the first set 6-3.

One of the most interesting features about this match is that it sees a contrast of styles, with Sevastova's cunning and crafty game coming up against Stephens' aggressive style.

In the tie-breaker, Stephens took four of the last five points, three on Sevastova errors before hitting a down-the-line backhand victor ensured her win to reach the top 35 in next week's rankings. "Making semifinals of a slam is a complete neutralizer", said Stephens.

Hugo: This could be a case of whether Vandeweghe uses the momentum of her victory over Pliskova or is exhausted by it.

To the Boston Herald in 1988, she said, "I've been the only black female at the USA nationals for the last five years".

Oh, and it's all going down at a stadium named for an African-American tennis player, Arthur Ashe.

The ninth-seeded Williams meets No. 13 Petra Kvitova on Tuesday night in a quarterfinal matchup of former Grand Slam champions.

Sevastova loses to Stephens in US Open 1/4

Still, this is America's Slam.

"It's definitely more than just a win", Keys said. Both women were on the attack - and both were fighting on defense with everything they had.

Williams grabbed the opening set 6-3.

Is it irony or is it providence that the Sisterhood has flourished this fortnight in absence of Serena, who gave birth to a daughter on September 1? She lost her visor in the middle of it.

She needed just one, hammering a victor down the line and breaking into a beaming smile as she celebrated a superb win. "But I just felt much better". "That would be huge", Williams said. On the other side, Williams didn't take any of those facts into account, and after recovering from a break deficit in the early stages of the match, she stormed to a one set lead. "You have to take the ones you have". "I'm really happy for all of us".

For the first time in U.S. Open history, three black women have advanced to the quarterfinal round; and, in this case, they all happen to be American.

It was Stephens who made the running, and the pressure told as three errors from Sevastaova left the American with match point, converted as she drilled a backhand down the line. Aged 37, #Venus Williams may eventually win that elusive Grand Slam she has been craving for years. She has reached the semis only twice since then. The U.S. had a chance to claim all four spots, with No. 15 Madison Keys and 20th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe playing their quarterfinal matches today.

But only Williams, the No. 9 seed, will get to keep riding the wave in NY. I think it's the latter ... and I'm thoroughly impressed. I have great respect for her [Sharapova]. "To come out of it with grace, as a champion, it's incredible". The bad news is these two, Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams, will have to try to cancel one other when they play for the second time.

But four Americans in the semifinals?

Perhaps, if you stick around long enough, everything good comes around again.

"Also with the number of people playing here it's huge for tennis, the fact that new American faces have shown up during this tournament". (Jennifer) Capriati and (Lindsay) Davenport and Monica Seles. "When I wasn't playing, like, of course I loved my time off, but when I got back to playing tennis, it was, like, this is where I want to be".

  • Julie Sanders