Sloane Stephens goes from foot cast to walking on air at US Open
Sloane Stephens, who missed 11 months with a left foot injury before returning in July, outlasted seven-time Slam champion Venus Williams 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 to reach the US Open final.tennis Updated: Sep 08, 2017 14:16 IST
Sloane Stephens was proud of her ability to step up in the moments that mattered after reaching the US Open final with a win over Venus Williams.
In a wild semi-final on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Stephens claimed a 6-1 0-6 7-5 victory to advance to her first grand slam decider, where Madison Keys awaits.
After two one-sided sets, the third was a thriller as Stephens and Williams created numerous chances in lengthy exchanges and long games.
Serving at 4-5, 30-30, Stephens won a remarkable point with a backhand winner down the line, and the 24-year-old felt she delivered in big moments against the seven-time major winner.
Asked if that felt like a turning point, Stephens said: “Yeah, and then the next two points, and the next game I played incredible.
“The first point of the next game she came in and I hit that lob thingy. I don’t know what that was. That was great.
“And then the second point was the let cord and I hit that thing. I think that really gave me some momentum and really pumped me up.
“Those were the type of opportunities I was talking about, when you get your chance, you’ve really just got to take it and make the most of it.”
“I knew that at some point I’d have an opportunity,” Stephens said.
“It was whether I decided to step up and take it or not was going to be the deciding factor. I think I did that extremely well at the end of the third set.”
The opening two sets were over in 54 minutes, while the third lasted 73 as both players got nearer to their best levels at the same time.
Williams, who enjoyed a tremendous year at the grand slams and made two major finals, paid tribute to Stephens.
“She played well. There was nothing I could do about those shots,” she said.
“Like I said, I played aggressively, and played the best point I could, and then she played a little better.
“Sometimes you get the luck and sometimes you don’t.”