Venus, Stephens Set Up Half of Potential All-American Semifinals at US Open

Order of play Day 11 – Williams faces Stephens for place in the final

On Thursday night, a tennis icon will face a younger star: Venus Williams, one of the greatest to ever play the game and still upholding her legendary status at 37 years old, and Sloane Stephens, 13 years younger but with established credentials as a Grand Slam contender and on the cusp of making a storybook comeback, will meet in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The No. 15 seed beat Estonia's Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the second time.

'I know how tough it is to get a grand-slam title.

She has taken those words to heart in a renaissance season that has seen her reach the Australian Open and Wimbledon finals.

The United States hasn't had all four semifinalists at the U.S. Open since 1981. I hope that we keep it going.

That was back in 2002 when Serena beat her older sister Venus in the final after Venus had won the Open in 2000 and 2001.

"There were no easy moments".

But she was unable to push on from those achievements and had become nearly the forgotten young talent of American tennis.

And it isn't maligning American tennis to suggest that - other than for the Williamses - that there had been a vacuum at the top. "All I have known all my life was great American players".

The last American man to win any Grand Slam singles title was Roddick in 2003 at Flushing Meadows.

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"He's a total legend", Williams said.

"A month ago I was really anxious, I was anxious about my protected ranking and not being able to play". I'm very thankful for the opportunity. But he had to fight because of the color of his skin. "To come out of it with grace, as a champion, it's incredible". Her ranking fell to 934th before she reached consecutive semifinals at hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati in August.

Stephens only returned to the tour at Wimbledon after almost a year out with a foot injury. "She played unbelievable points in the end". Stephens shined with hit a victor crosscourt, to 2-1, and then she has triumphed with a superb backhand in parallel. "She can play much worse than she was playing today".

The American kept running, even when her legs were probably telling her to stop.

"If someone would have told me when I started at Wimbledon that I'd be in the semifinals, I would have said they're insane", Stephens said. The two-time champion won by the same 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 score line as Stephens in what was the best match of the tournament on the women's side.

"It's definitely more than just a win", Keys said.

"Definitely felt like a special match".

SLOANE STEPHENS continues her post-injury journey after reaching her first quarter final at the US Open.

The last time there was an All-American semi at the U.S. Open it was Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Tracy Austin and Barbara Potter. So I did something that my Mom didn't want me to do, the World's Fair, and I would not have suggested she come out here by herself, and we both did something separately, independently, not worrying about other kids, just go for it. "Now that we're older, we can put that into words, but we all wanted to be there", Vandeweghe said.

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