The women’s tournament has thrown up two enthralling matches in the final four with Thursday’s play beginning with a showdown for No.1 between Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza. Following that will be a rematch of last year’s US Open final between Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. It ensures an American will be in the final once more with Sloane the favourite although it would be a shock should she win as easily as she did back in New York.
Sloane successfully maneuvered her way through a quarter that was ripe for upsets having contained Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova. She narrowly made it through against Camila Giorgi but has been dominant in the past two rounds, dropping just six games in total against Anett Kontaveit and Daria Kasatkina – both dangerous players in their own right. She was always in control against Kasatkina in the 6-3 6-1 win, playing one of her best slam matches to date. “I thought I played pretty solid,” Stephens she said. “I knew that every time you go into a match there are a little bit of nerves that go into it. I knew I had to come out and keep swinging.
Keys took full advantage of early exits from Jelena Ostapenko and Elina Svitolina to find herself in this position. She defeated Yulia Putintseva in the quarter finals to make it three out of the four slams that she has been a semi finalist in. The consistency outside of slams is not there right now but there are suggestions she is capable of going deep on a regular basis, fitness permitting. “I’m definitely liking the clay a little bit more now that I have made a semifinal here. I think today is a perfect example of what I have been trying to do, and I think it showed today.” Keys said afterwards. “Especially in matches like today, really show me that I’m good at playing on clay, but I can also be aggressive and still play my game.”
Sloane proved she can match Keys’ power in the meetings so far while covering the court extremely well. The US Open final will likely be in the back of both women’s minds with Sloane having plenty to be confident about, even if Keys was way off her best on that night.
Prediction – Sloane Stephens in three sets