World No.83 Sloane Stephens displayed spectacular tennis and courage to prevail in crucial moments and long rallies in the third set against ninth seed Venus Williams, reaching her first Grand Slam final at the 2017 US Open.
With Williams looking totally absent, Stephens raced through the first set 6-1 and even earned break points in the first game of the second set, but Williams then took complete charge and stormed through the set to give the match a strange score of 1-6 6-0 after the first two sets.
The decider was a completely different story, with pretty much every game being an intense battle and the outcome of the match being uncertain until the very end. The moment that turned out to determine the winner was an intense rally at Williams’ 5-4 30-30 lead, that decided whether Williams would have a match point or Stephens a point for 5-5. After spectacularly winning the rally and holding that crucial serve, Stephens broke Williams in the eleventh game without losing a point and bravely finished the job in the following game, 6-1 0-6 7-5.
The victory will propel Stephens to No.22 in the WTA rankings, while the title would lift her to No.15, 16 or 17, depending on Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe, who are contesting the second semifinal.