Sam Stosur survived a late fightback from unseeded German Angelique Kerber to win their semifinal 6-3 2-6 6-2 on Saturday and give rise to Australian hopes of a long-overdue US Open female winner.
Stosur, one of the most powerful hitters in the women's game, regained her composure after dropping the second set and failing to serve out the match at the first attempt.
The 27-year-old Queenslander held her nerves to become the first Australian to reach the US Open women's final since Wendy Turnbull in 1977, seven years before Stosur was born and a year before the tournament was moved from Forest Hills to the current site at Flushing Meadows.
"It's pretty hard to describe, it's one of the best feelings I've ever had," Stosur said.
Kerber, playing in her first grand slam semi-final, forced a decisive third set after taking control of the second but was unable to stay with Stosur in the third, as the ninth seed raised her game and raced to a 5-0 lead.
Stosur blew her first chance to serve it out as Kerber broke then held her own serve to give herself a glimmer of hope but Stosur finished her off in the next game, thrusting her arms into the air in jubilation.
"In the second set she was really dictating play before I could but in the third set I just tried to settle down and concentrate on my own game plan," Stosur said. "It's always tough to serve a match but having a 5-0 buffer helps."
The last Australian woman to win the US Open was Margaret Court in 1973, while the last to win any grand slam was Evonne Goolagong-Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980.
Stosur, Australia's best prospect in years, made the final at the French Open last year but lost to Italy's Francesca Schiavone.
She will play the winner of Saturday's second semi between Serena Williams and world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the final, which was shifted from Saturday to Sunday after two days of rain forced a schedule change.
Stosur's match against Kerber was a victim of the schedule change and was moved from Arthur Ashe Stadium to Grandstand, a much smaller showcourt, after the Louis Armstrong Stadium was declared unsuitable because of water leaks.