September 7, 2017 / 1:05 AM / 3 months ago

Tennis-Keys opens door to U.S. Open semi-finals

NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - A rampaging Madison Keys completed an American sweep of the U.S. Open women’s quarter-finals on Wednesday, dismissing Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-3 to guarantee an American champion at the year’s final grand slam.

Keys’ victory ensured Americans grabbed all of the semi-finals berths at Flushing Meadows for the first time since Tracy Austin, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Barbara Potter filled the final four spots in 1981.

Stephens advanced on Tuesday with a gritty victory over 16th seeded Anastasija Sevastova which was followed by 37-year-old Venus Williams outlasting 13th seed Petra Kvitova.

CoCo Vandeweghe then shocked world number one Karolina Pliskova earlier on Wednesday, before Keys produced a ruthless thumping of Kanepi to reach her first grand slam semi-final since the 2015 Australian Open.

It has been a sensational run by the 22-year-old 15th seed, who missed the opening two months of the season recovering from left-wrist surgery and the U.S. Open is just her 10th event this year.

Keys needed just 69 minutes to see off a weary opponent who appeared to be simply out of gas after playing eight matches, including three in qualifying to get into the main draw.

With the crowd buzzing under the closed roof inside Arthur Ashe, Keys showed some early jitters but they disappeared with an early break on the way to taking the first set.

A break to open the second and another to end the contest brought a smile and a squeal of delight from Keys as she threw her hands into the air in triumph.

Keys will now face Vandeweghe for a spot in Saturday’s final while Williams will meet Stephens.

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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