Sloane Stephens into US Open semifinals

Sloane Stephens of the United States reached the US Open semifinals on Tuesday with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova.

Sloane Stephens of the United States returns a shot against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia during their quarterfinal match.   -  AFP

Sloane Stephens of the United States reached the US Open semifinals on Tuesday with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova.

She will play either US ninth seed Venus Williams or Czech 13th seed Petra Kvitova for a place in Saturday's final.

"I just told myself to keep fighting and stay consistent," Stephens said. "I knew if I just stick with it and stayed in every point I knew I'd have my opportunity and I did."

Stephens, who missed 11 months with a left foot injury before returning at Wimbledon, has won 13 of her past 15 matches entering a Thursday semifinal against a later winner between two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and seven-time Grand Slam trophy-lifter Venus Williams.

"I'm getting teary-eyed," Stephens said. "This is just incredible.

"When I started my comeback at Wimbledon I could never have dreamed of coming back and having these results and making the semifinals at my home Slam. It's indescribable."

Stephens' only prior Slam semifinal was at the 2013 Australian Open semis while Sevastova matched her best major run from last year at New York by ousting Maria Sharapova to reach last eight.

In the tie-breaker, Stephens took four of the last five points, three on Sevastova errors before hitting a down-the-line backhand winner to win in 2 hrs 28 mins.

"I was able to play loose and 'Bam', here we are," Stephens said.

All-American semifinals?

US ninth seed Williams, the oldest women's entrant at age 37, seeks her third US Open crown after 2000 and 2001 and third Slam final of the year after Australian Open and Wimbledon runner-up finishes. She hasn't reached three Slam finals in a year since 2002.

Williams would be the oldest US Open women's semifinals and the oldest Slam semifinalist since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994.

Kvitova, who leads their career rivalry 4-1, is battling back from a five-month absence after injuring her left hand when attacked by a knife-wielding home intruder last December.

Four American women, also including Madison Keys and CoCo Vanderweghe, have reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 2002 and they could produce the first all-US semifinals in New York since 1981.

"This is amazing and I hope there are four Americans in the semi-finals," Stephens said.

What began as an eight-woman fight for the world number one ranking at the US Open is down to two.

Czech Karolina Plishkova, the reigning number one and last year's US Open runner-up, must reach this year's final or lose the top spot to already-ousted Garbine Muguruza, the reigning Wimbledon champion.

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