Sloane Stephens stuns Venus Williams to reach maiden Grand Slam final
Sloane Stephens v Venus Williams 6-1 0-6 7-5

Sloane Stephens stuns Venus Williams to reach maiden Grand Slam final

07/09/2017

Sloane Stephens reached her first ever Grand Slam final with a battling 6-1 0-6 7-5 victory over fellow American Venus Williams at the US Open.

The world number 83 recovered from a second-set bagel to produce some breathtaking tennis in the final stages of the decider and knock out the ninth seed, who was chasing her third title in New York and first since 2001.

"I have no words to describe what I'm feeling, what it took to get here, just the journey I've been on, I have no words," said Stephens, who was ranked 934th in the world just over a month ago.

"When I started my comeback if somebody told me I was going to make two semis and a grand slam final, I would probably have passed out, which is what I feel like right now. I don't know how I got here, just hard work, that's it."

Defeat for 37-year-old Williams also sees her hopes of becoming the oldest Grand Slam champion dashed, with the record currently held by her sister, Serena.

Stephens' victory means a maiden Grand Slam champion will be crowned on Saturday, with the 24-year-old facing one of Madison Keys in the final.

There were no signs of early nerves from Stephens in her first semi-final at Flushing Meadows, as she broke Williams with her first opportunity in the fourth game.

Williams looked well off the pace as she dropped serve once again, with Stephens winning five games in a row to clinch the first set in 25 minutes.

A lengthy opening game in the second set saw Venus fight tooth and nail to hold serve, and she saved three break points before sealing it after four deuces.

Stephens’ inability to break brought with it a momentum shift as Williams went on to storm through the set without dropping a game.

However, the one-time world number 11 responded to that second-set trouncing by breaking immediately in the decider, though Williams would not lie down and levelled up the scores at 2-2.

An extraordinary third set continued to swing both ways, but it was Stephens who found herself serving for the match after some stunning shots saw her break Williams to love.

Stephens held her nerve at 6-5 to see it out after an epic finale which lasted one hour and 14 minutes, which was 19 minutes longer than the first two sets combined.

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