In what was a great day for American tennis and for African-American athletes, up-and-coming star Sloane Stephens matched up against the legendary Venus Williams at the 2017 United States Open Tennis Championships. This was a semifinal match on the way to a Grand Slam title, and what made September 7 so special is that it was an All-American night to remember as Stephens won a dramatic match considered to have been one of the best thus far this year. Over the last two weeks, American tennis pros have dominated the US Open, particularly the female players who made it to the semifinal matches at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. Aside from the aforementioned match between Williams and Stephens, CoCo Vandeweghe and Madison Keys also made it to the semifinals, much to the delight of local fans who were ecstatic to learn that two American women would be headed to this particular Grand Slam.
Over the last few years, the tennis world has seen a major surge in interest towards the women’s singles category. In terms of television ratings, female tennis pros have been commanding massive market share in the 21st century, and in the United States this phenomenon can be explained by the Williams sisters, who have truly elevated the sport on many levels due to their powerful style of play and sheer dedication to the sport. For Venus Williams, this semifinal match represented more than just American pride. There is also the fact that she was the oldest player at the US Open semifinals since Martina Navratilova.
At the age of 37, Venus knows that Sloane is a player who relies on tremendous athleticism; to this effect, betting lines on Sloane were heavily on her favor. The elder Williams knew what she had to do as she played behind the baseline and delivered lots of power to keep her opponent on her toes. Williams allowed Stephens to take a quick first set 6-1, but she knew that the young star would make mistakes. On her second set, Williams easily dominated and looked ready to cruise through the rest of the match. Just when it appeared as if Sloane would not make the finals and would fall to the more experienced Williams, she managed to turn the match around and forced a match point situation that saw her respond to a net trap with a high volley over Venus. Fans loved it as Sloane celebrated her ticket to the finals and a new stage in her career, which is just starting to shine. As for Williams, she proved that she has reached Navratilova heights and may continue to compete if she wishes to.