Venus Williams and Madison Keys should win their respective semi-final tennis matches at the 2017 U.S. Open on Thursday. Williams faces Sloane Stephens, while Keys will battle CoCo Vandeweghe in an all-American final four at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Before a look at the picks, here are the viewing and schedule details for these matches:
Date: Thursday, September 7
Time: 7 p.m. ET/12 a.m. (Friday) BST
TV Info: ESPN (U.S.). Eurosport 1 (UK).
Four American women contesting two semi-final matches has made history at the U.S. Open, according to Mark Preston of the tournament's official website. Among them, Williams is the most decorated player.
However, she may also be the one with the most to prove. The 37-year-old's progress to the last four has been tough, per Preston: "Three of her five matches thus far have gone three sets, including her quarterfinal win over two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova on Tuesday."
Williams is battle-hardened, but she's also waited nine years to win an eighth Grand Slam title. She last won at Wimbledon in 2008 and hasn't claimed the big prize at Flushing Meadows since 2001.
Even so, Williams will surely fancy her chances of overcoming recent history when she faces Stephens. The latter has defied the odds to reach the last four after entering the tournament without a seeding.
However, Stephens did win the only other meeting between these two, a straight-sets victory at the 2015 French Open, per Ed McGrogan of tennis.com.
Stephens may have a slight psychological edge, but Williams is playing exceptional and determined tennis. The latter's greater experience should give her the edge.
Like Stephens, Keys has momentum on her side as she prepares for her semi-final match. The 22-year-old has put together a terrific winning run at Flushing Meadows, per WTA Insider:
WTA Insider @WTA_insider
The Hot Hands: Sloane Stephens has won 13 of her last 15 matches. Madison Keys has won 11 of her last 12 matches. #USOpen2017-9-7 14:38:00
Keys doesn't just have current form on her side. Vandeweghe is also battling unfavourable history at this tournament:
WTA Insider @WTA_insider
Vandeweghe won the 2008 girls title @usopen. Only 2 former girls’ champions have gone on to reach the women's final: Davenport & Azarenka.2017-9-7 15:36:00
Not only is tournament history against Vandeweghe, so is the head-to-head. Keys has won both previous meetings between the two, according to BBC Sport.
Keys' serve-and-volley game made the difference on the hard courts in the quarter-final, per Piers Newbery of BBC Sport: "Keys fired down eight aces among 23 winners as she dominated in the opening night-session contest."
If she can repeat the power of her service game in the semi-final, Keys will have too much for Vandeweghe.
A final between Keys and Williams will be a fitting one given the way both players have progressed through the draw. First, though, they each need to produce one more quality performance to advance past Day 11.