Four U.S. Women Made It To The U.S. Open Semifinals; Three Were African American

Four American women reached the 2017 semifinals, and subsequent finals, this past weekend at the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows Park in New York. 

Venus Williams, a well-known veteran in the world of women's tennis, faced off against Sloane Stephens Thursday evening, with 24-year-old Stephens making it to Saturday's final. Following that match was the second semifinal round, which featured CoCo Vandeweghe and Madison Keys. Keys dominated in straight sets, beating Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-2.

Saturday's final was a highly anticipated event, though for reasons other than trophies and set scores. While the match saw Stephens defeat Keys 6-3, 6-0, what stood out most was the fact that two African-American women were facing off at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Just over one month ago, Stephens was ranked No. 937, having overcome both statistical odds and the impediment of foot surgery to repair a stress fracture. Keys had also undergone wrist surgery this past year, as well. 

"Impossible, I would say," said Stephens of her rise from surgery to US Open champion. “I should just retire now,” she joked during post-match. “I told Maddie I’m never going to be able to top this. I mean, talk about a comeback." Stephens and Keys have been friends along the tour, and shared a special moment of support and encouragement following the conclusion of the match. 

Stephens joins a highly venerated group of predecessors who have won the open as African Americans, dating back 60 years to a win by Althea Gibson.