Two points from defeat against Venus Williams at the US Open, Sloane Stephens summoned her best strokes when she needed them the most to reach a Grand Slam final for the first time.
The 24-year-old took the last three games of a back-and-forth semi-final at Flushing Meadows, edging seven-time major champion Williams 6-1 0-6 7-5 on Thursday.
“It required a lot of fight, a lot of grit,” Stephens, who is ranked 83rd after having surgery on her left foot in January and is the fourth unseeded finalist at the tournament in the Open era, said.
At 37, Williams was attempting to become the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era. She was trying to reach her third major final of this season, something she last did 15 years ago.