Stephens shocks Venus to reach first slam final

Sloane Stephens will appear in her first Grand Slam final after winning a three-set thriller against Venus Williams.

In an encounter lasting more than two hours, Stephens produced a shock over her fellow American and ninth seed Williams to progress 6-1, 0-6, 7-5.

The 24-year-old becomes only the fourth unseeded woman in US Open history to reach the final after the world number 83 made light of her recent injury troubles.

“I have no words to describe my feelings and what it took to get here. I have no words,” said Stephens.

“I have no idea how I have done it. Your guess is as good as mine. If someone had told me when I started my comeback that I would make two semi-finals and a Grand Slam final I would have passed out. I don’t know how I did it. Just hard work.

“I hung tough, gritted it out. I worked my tail off. We played some incredible points in the third set.

“I am honoured to play at the same time as one of the greats of the game. She is the most graceful, the most elegant.”

Stephens was off to a lightning start after winning the opening set in just 24 minutes. Williams seemed shocked by her opponent coming out of the blocks so quickly, and her 15 unforced errors proved costly.

But Williams came roaring back with an imperious second set, that was largely decided on its opening game.

In a 10-minute duel, Williams eventually held her serve and that provided the launchpad for the seven-time Grand Slam winner to find her range and comfortably level the match with a 6-0 triumph.

If the crowd were a little puzzled by the differing outcomes of the first two sets, both players produced some ferocious tennis in the decider.

It was a neck-and-neck encounter – Stephens’ belief that she had secured a break in the ninth game scuppered by a Hawk-eye review.

But at 5-5, Stephens produced a succession of stunning shots to grab three break points and she took full advantage, before serving out the match.