NEW YORK (AFP) - US 15th seed Madison Keys defeated Estonian qualifier Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday to complete the lineup for the US Open's first all-American women's semi-finals since 1981.
In Thursday's semi-final matches, Keys will face 20th seed CoCo Vandeweghe, whom she is 2-0 against in WTA matches, while Sloane Stephens faces seven-time Grand Slam champion and two-time US Open winner Venus Williams.
Vandeweghe had earlier beaten world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova 7-6(4) 6-3 on Wednesday. The 25-year-old New York native fed off the energy of the partisan crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which erupted when Pliskova returned a serve into the net on match point.
Defeat for the Czech ensured that she would no longer top the WTA rankings when they are released next week.
Pliskova looked frustrated and struggled to find her rhythm throughout the match, serving just two aces while committing three double faults and 21 unforced errors.
"I can play much better than I was playing today. I didn't feel the best," she said in a post-match news conference.
"But I think you're never going to feel your best with the game that she's playing."
Vandeweghe smacked 24 winners, most of them coming from her powerful forehand, while rocketing five aces and saving five of her seven break points.
After wrapping up victory, Vandeweghe briefly fell to her knees before walking over to her box to shake hands and exchange words with her coach, former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash.
"Even though we are out here individually, it's a team sport," she said in an on-court interview. "They work as hard as I do.