US Open | Sania Mirza enters doubles semifinals; Sloane Stephens to face Madison Keys for women’s singles title

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Sania Mirza and her partner Shuai Peng have advanced to the women's doubles semi-finals at the US Open by beating Andrea Hlavackova and Timea Babos 7-6(5), 6-4 on Thursday. Meanwhile, Sloane Stephens got the better of compatriot Venus Williams and will meet Madison Keys in an all-American final.

Fourth-seeded Sania and her Chinese partner Shuai broke the Czech-Hungarian pair thrice in the match as the fifth seeds lost the match after one hour and 56 minutes.

This is Saina’s best performance in a Slam this year as despite being ranked as high as number one at the beginning of the year, the Hyderabad  player had failed to progress beyond the third round in the three previous Slams this year, where she played with three different partners.

This is also the first time that the 2015 US Open champion Saina and Shuai are playing as a pair at any Slam. However, Shuai, who had reached the semi-finals of the singles event in 2014, will play her first semi-final in the women's doubles event at the US Open. The duo will next meet the pair of Martina Hingis and Hao-Ching Chan.

Meanwhile, American Sloane Stephens managed to take the last three games of a closely contested semifinal against Venus Williams, thus edging the seven-time major champion 6-1, 0-6, 7-5. 

Stephens, who was ranked 957th in July when her hard-court campaign began, has won 14 of her past 16 matches, including semi-final runs at Toronto and Cincinnati. But the semi-final against her compatrioit was always going to be a difficult affair considering Venus’ splendid run this year. However, the 24-year old kept her nerves and despite losing the second set, won the competitive third set to reach the final, where she will meet the World No. 16 Madison Keys in the first all-American US Open women's final since 2002, when Williams and her sister Serena faced each other.

Keys, who has had two wrist surgeries this year, was in fabulous form and downed Coco Vandeweghe 6-1 6-2 in little over an hour. However, the 22-year-old had to take a medical timeout for a right leg problem, which could prove to be a factor in Stephens’ favour in the final.

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