All-American women’s semi-final showdown set, but Sam Querrey bows out

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    While there will be an American represented in this year’s US Open women’s final, any hope of a first local men’s champion since Andy Roddick in 2003 will have to wait at least another twelve months following a dramatic Day 9 at Flushing Meadows.

    The bottom half women’s semi-final will pit Venus Williams up against Sloane Stephens after the pair were stretched to the limit in their respective quarter-finals against Petra Kvitova and Anastasija Sevastova.

    Stephens was the first to advance to the last four after coming from a break down in the final set to get the better of Sevastova, claiming victory in a tiebreak which she took seven points to four.

    The pair had split the opening two sets, 6-3 each way.

    It will be just the second time the 24-year-old has contested a major semi-final, after previously getting this far at the 2013 Australian Open where she lost in controversial circumstances to defending champion Victoria Azarenka.

    Currently ranked 83rd in the world, Stephens will also climb back into the world’s top 40 at the end of the tournament, this coming after she launched her comeback from a foot injury at Wimbledon ranked in the 900s.

    Awaiting her in her first US Open semi-final will be Venus Williams, who also required a final set tiebreak to get past dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who had taken down Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round.

    As was the case in the earlier quarter-final, the first two sets were split at 6-3, after which one of the most tense final sets ensued whereby neither player could gain an advantage.

    In the end, Venus took the final set tiebreak seven points to two, the result sending her into her first US Open semi-final since 2010, and third Grand Slam semi-final this year.

    It will also be the first all-American semi-final at Flushing Meadows since 2002, when Serena Williams defeated Lindsay Davenport en route to her second US Open title (which she won by defeating her sister, Venus, in the final).

    The elder of the Williams sisters will start as the favourite to progress to her first final in New York since then.

    Venus will also be hoping that it is third time lucky as far as Grand Slam glory is concerned, having lost the Australian Open and Wimbledon finals to Serena and Garbine Muguruza respectively, both times in straight sets.

    She will also be bidding to win her third US Open title, but first since 2001.

    Venus Williams of the United States acknowledges the crowd

    (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

    The possibility of another all-American semi-final will rest in the hands of Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys, who both face Karolina Pliskova and Kaia Kanepi in their respective quarter-finals this morning (AEST).

    For Pliskova, the stakes will be high because a loss in either the quarter or semi-finals will see her lose the world number one ranking to Garbine Muguruza.

    It would also guarantee a first-time grand slam finalist, as neither of Vandeweghe, Keys or Kanepi have got this far (though all except Kanepi have reached one Grand Slam semi-final in the past).

    If Vandweghe and Keys win their respective quarter-finals, it will complete an all-American sweep of semi-finalists since 1981.

    Needless to say, the country would also be guaranteed of another local champion as well (though whoever wins would then become the first local champion not named Serena Williams since 2001).

    In the men’s draw, any hope of a first local men’s champion since Andy Roddick fourteen years ago died with Sam Querrey’s four-set loss to South African Kevin Anderson in the early hours of Wednesday morning local time.

    After the pair split the opening two sets in tiebreaks, a break was enough for Anderson, previously a quarter-finalist in 2015, to take the third set.

    The fourth set then went to a tiebreak, during which Querrey had a set point to force a deciding set. However, the 17th seed would finally wave the white flag at 1:51am (3:51pm AEST) by sending a shot long, ending the contest after just under three-and-a-half hours.

    Anderson has now become the first man from his country to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Wayne Ferreira at the 2003 Australian Open.

    Awaiting him in the semi-finals will be Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, who defeated Diego Schwartzman in straight sets in the earlier quarter-final over twelve hours earlier.

    Day 10 will see Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal start favourites to set up a first-ever meeting between the pair at Flushing Meadows, when they come up against Juan Martin del Potro and Andrey Rublev in their respective quarter-finals.


    ( The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

    However, it will not come easy, as Federer comes up against one of only two men to have beaten him in a US Open final (the other was Novak Djokovic in 2015), when del Potro claimed his lone major title in five sets in the 2009 final.

    So, will we see a ‘Fedal’ semi-final or will one of del Potro or Rublev destroy the script?

    Matches to watch on Day 10
    Arthur Ashe Stadium

    Day session – play starts at 12:00pm (Thursday 2:00am AEST)
    [1] Karolina Pliskova (CZE) versus [20] Coco Vandeweghe (USA)
    [1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) versus Andrey Rublev (RUS)

    Night session – play starts at 7:00pm (9:00am AEST)
    [15] Madison Keys (USA) versus Kaia Kanepi (EST)
    [3] Roger Federer (SUI) versus [24] Juan Martin del Potro (ARG)

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