US Open 2018 women’s SFs Williams, Keys, Osaka and Sevastova – all you need to know
Marianne Bevis looks ahead to the women's singles semi-finals at the US Open in New York
If there is one name that comes as no surprise in the final-four line-up of women in contention for the 50th US Open title, it is the tournament’s favourite daughter, Serena Williams.
Six times the champion in New York, Williams missed last year’s tournament to give birth to her first child, but 12 months on is into her ninth consecutive US semi-final and her 12th in the Big Apple overall. She aims to reach her 31st Major final and, if successful, target her 24th Major title. And that would make her the oldest Major champion of the Open era—beating the record she herself set in Australia 2017 while almost two months pregnant.
But for Williams, the achievements and statistics have piled ever higher since, still weeks short of her 17th birthday, she won her very first Major at the US Open. She has gone on to win 94 singles matches in New York, across what is now a 20-year-span, and despite playing only six events since returning from maternity leave—incidentally making the final at Wimbledon along the way—she has rapidly put herself into the frame as favourite to equal that long-pursued record held by Margaret Court of 24 Major singles titles.
There would, of course, be no better place to do it.
But who are the other three women with ambitions of their own in New York, who could halt this remarkable run?
First, who has not made it to the final four?
· Of the seven former US Open champions in the main draw, only Williams remains
· Of the additional six former champions at the other Majors in the draw, only Williams remains
· Of the last six Major champions, none remains—the last woman to win who is present is, yes, Williams
· Of the six hard-court champions between Wimbledon and the US Open, none remains
· Of the top 12 women in the WTA rankings and the WTA Race to Singapore, none remains
· The No1 seed Simona Halep was the first top-seeded woman in the Open era to lose in the first round in New York, and with Caroline Wozniacki’s loss in Round 2, this became the first time that the two top seeds lost so early in the Open.
The last four facts and figures
Serena Williams vs Anastasija Sevastova, H2H first meeting
Serena Williams [in addition to the above introduction]
Age, 36 (37 on 29 September)
Major singles titles, 23
Total singles titles, 72
Highest ranking, No1 for 319 weeks, current rank 26
Predicted ranking after USO, No16 with final finish, No11 with title
US Open best result, six titles plus two runners up, 94-11
Seeds beaten this year, No16 Venus Williams, No8 Karolina Pliskova
Total time on court, 6hr31min
Total singles titles, 3
Highest ranking, No15, current rank 18
Predicted ranking after USO, No15 with final finish, No9 with title
US Open best result, QF last two years, 15-5
Seeds beaten this year, No7 Elina Svitolina, No3 Sloane Stephens
Total time on court, 7hr44min
NB Sevastova never advanced to a hard-court final before
Madison Keys vs Naomi Osaka, H2H 3-0
NB youngest US Open SF in a decade
Total singles titles, 3
Highest ranking, 7, current rank 14
Predicted ranking after USO, No9 with title
US Open best result, runner-up 2017, 19-6
Seeds beaten this year, No29 Dominika Cibulkova, No30 Carla Suarez Navarro
Total time on court, 7hr10min
Total singles titles, 1
Highest ranking, No17, current rank 19
Predicted ranking after USO, No12 with final finish, No7 with title
US Open best result, Round 3 2016, 2017, 9-2
Seeds beaten this year, No26 Aryna Sabalenka
Total time on court, 5hr58min