NEW YORK — Sloane Stephens‘ comeback from injury will keep going all the way to the US Open semifinals.
Stephens edged No. 16 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4) on Tuesday to reach the final four of a major tournament for the first time since 2013.
Sidelined from tennis for nearly a year and unsure what she could accomplish just last month, the unseeded American advanced to face the winner of the match between Grand Slam champions Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova on Tuesday night.
Stephens had left foot surgery in January and didn’t return to the tour until Wimbledon in July. Her ranking fell to 934th before she reached consecutive semifinals at hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati in August.
“When I started my comeback at Wimbledon, I could have never even dreamed of something like this happening, having these results,” Stephens said in an on-court interview.
She’s No. 83 now with 13 wins in her past 15 matches, becoming just the seventh player outside the top 50 to reach the US Open women’s semifinals since the rankings began in 1975.
Her only previous Grand Slam semifinal was at the Australian Open four years ago.
The No. 9-seeded Williams hoped to give the host country half of the final four– and reach the U.S. Open semifinals for the first time since 2010– by beating No. 13 Kvitova. The U.S. had a chance to claim all four spots, with No. 15 Madison Keys and 20th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe playing their quarterfinal matches Wednesday.
Sevastova beat Maria Sharapova in the fourth round and was trying to reach the first major semifinal of her career. She received treatment from a trainer late in the first set Tuesday for a problem with her upper right leg.
But she seemed to have recovered well when she won the second set and jumped to a 3-1 lead in the third.
“I thought I had her somewhere in the beginning of the third. I was in control,” Sevastova said. “But, yeah, she came back and played some great winners, and she was back.”