Wednesday’s Set Points, US Open Day 10: American clean sweep, Vandeweghe & Keys into SFs

Set PointsReaching her second Slam semi-final of 2017 and with a second win of the year over a world number one, CoCo Vandeweghe beat Karolina Pliskova, 7-6(4) 6-3 in the first of the quarter-finals on Wednesday at the US Open.

Vandeweghe saved a set point to win the opener in the tiebreak. One of the key differences was on return – Vandeweghe nailed a return on the first point of the tiebreak while Pliskova was unable to get a trio of returns back in court, flinging her racquet at the end of the set in frustration. Pliskova had rallied from a slow start in the first set and taken advantage of a few lapses in concentration from Vandeweghe on serve to come very close to grabbing the opener. However, credit to the American who mentally dug in and managed to halt Pliskova’s increasing momentum. Rather surprisingly, Pliskova missed on the key points.

In all four previous match-ups between Vandeweghe and Pliskova, the winner of the first set has gone onto win in straights. Again, this would be the case as Vandeweghe, despite a few wobbles on serve, served out the win. Pliskova was rather disappointing in the second set as she struggled both on her return and forehand. All the credit to CoCo – there were a couple of shaky moments but she managed to rein it in for an all-round mentally sound display.

“I got my chances.  I didn’t make it. So that’s it” – Solid assessment from Pliskova.

By virtue of Pliskova’s loss, Garbiñe Muguruza is the new world number one. Congrats, Garbi! 😄

In the second semi-final, there was added pressure on Madison Keys as she went into the night match against Kaia Kanepi knowing that a win would complete a clean sweep of Americans in the semi-finals. She did just that, beating Kanepi, 6-3 6-3 and saving all three break points she faced in the 68-minute contest.

I’m not surprised Madison was feeling it before the match!

Pretty amazing.

There wasn’t much tennis away from Ashe on another rainy day in New York. Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova and Xu Yi-fan and Gabriela Dabrowski had split sets on Grandstand when their doubles quarter-final was moved to Ashe. Dabrowski and Xu, who won New Haven together, must be an awkward pair to play and they produced flashes of inspired play at the net. Safarova and Strycova came through a tricky third set to win, 6-3 2-6 6-4. In an all-Czech semi-final, Safarova and Strycova will play Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova.

Lucie! 😂😂😂

Lucie talked about her partnership with Bara in the article linked below.


Both semi-finals will be played during Thursday’s night session starting at 7pm local time. It’s a brutal schedule for Europeans – if there’s one three setter, I might get lucky and see the end of the second semi-final as i’ve been waking up ridiculously early all week! Venus vs. Sloane is up first and is a fascinating match-up. I have been pondering it all day, struggling to make my mind up as to who I think will win. In terms of who I want to win i’m also pretty even.

For Stephens, her level hasn’t always been there through her last two matches against Goerges and Sevastova, yet i’ve been bowled over by her composure and ability to play solid and thoughtful tennis in the key moments. All the wins through the summer have clearly fed her confidence.

Venus continues to dazzle at the Slams – I watched back Venus-Petra which I really enjoyed! It’s never quite as good watching a match back when you know the result but the last 30 minutes or so were truly captivating. Venus played a superb third set tiebreak and was never rattled with Kvitova serving tremendously at times.

I think the day off for Venus will be huge and I would guess it could be a valid reason why she has performed better at the Slams compared to WTA tournaments this year. Honestly, I won’t be surprised either way with this result. I’m going 52-48 in favour of Venus.

For the third time this summer, Madison Keys will play CoCo Vandeweghe – the winner will advance to their first ever Slam final! Keys has won their two previous matches in Stanford (7-6 6-4, Final) and Cincy (6-4 3-6 6-3, R1). Again, Madison will play at night which she must be used to by now. I’d be more confident in Madison holding it together in what will be a huge match for both players.

Now we are down to the last four, who you got?!

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15 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Set Points, US Open Day 10: American clean sweep, Vandeweghe & Keys into SFs

  1. I don’t really like Keys or Coco. I find Madison’s game dull and brutish and Vandeweghe is about as likeable as a Nazi sympathiser.
    Since Madison seems like a sweet girl, I’ll root for her.


      • The reaction on Tennis Twitter would be quite something 😀 I think Keys and Williams will make it and I’m all in for Queen Vee to reward herself for a *fantastic* Grandslam season by winning the US Open!


    • Lol Keys game may be brutish, but not dull at all imo. But yeah, everyone has another opinion I would say. 😂

      I will root for Stephens to win it all. It would be one of the biggest miracles of comebacks. She wasn’t even Top 900 few weeks ago!


      • Agreed! 😀 She’s not really brutish. Not so sure, but the current american lingo maybe more like she’s ‘savage’ on court. Definitely not a princess, that’s probably more like Sloane.


      • When Pliskova or Kvitova hit winners, you feel yourself saying “ooooh”. I just don’t get that from Madison. I feel like what people used to say about Serena, that she just hits the ball really hard, is actually how Keys game is best described.

        I agree about Sloane though. I want to see her win the title.


    • “As likable as a Nazi sympathizer” is a bit nasty and harsh and unnecessary. You sir are not a nice person. Not liking a player is one thing; calling them despicable names is taking things to a whole other level of disgusting. This is a young woman you’re talking about.


      • One of the ironies of CoCo’s haters is that they almost always possess the qualities they claim to despise in her – obnoxious and over-dramatizing, etc – but even more so.


      • The thing is that I’m not in the public eye with young people looking to me as a role model.
        I don’t hate Coco. I don’t know her. I just don’t like how she carries herself as a supposed professional athlete. Take from that what you will.


      • Just my two cents about this. Coco certainly isn’t my favourite player and I know people on Twitter who dislike her intensely; that having been said, if she were that bad I don’t think she’d be able to count the likes of Bethanie and Madison as friends (which she does).


  2. It’s basically a USA Fed Cup team in the semi finals. With Pliskova out, can’t vouch for the motivations of the girls remaining, but I guess they are all in it for the crown. So, may the best player win.

    But to stir up the pot, the 3 younger girls will want to get rid of Venus. You know, for reasons.. Amongst the three, I think Sloane will secretly want this the most, she’s been on the sidelines for too long. Madison will be super stoked if she wins her first Slam and Coco… lol ..I don’t know. Maybe she’ll get something to rub in someone’s face ?! Hmmm…seems like a ‘mean girls’ movie. As divisive a character as she is, I think Coco winning won’t be the end of the world. Hopefully, Venus still has something left in the tank to school any of the trio!


    • Coco’s the odd one out of the quartet in that AFAIK she hasn’t faced recent and significant health injury issues. Venus’s struggles with Sjogren’s syndrome are well documented, Sloane’s been out for surgery for a stress fracture on her right foot and Madi’s had wrist surgery. To me that means Coco won’t have the same motivation to win as she won’t have quite the same need to prove she’s overcome her infirmity – so to me that makes her the least likely to win.

      Hey, I’ve been wrong before!

      Like Andrew though, I’d like to see Madi win for personal reasons; she does a lot of work with teenage girls in the US as part of a charity called FearlesslyGIRL and I like the sound of it all.


  3. Fascinating all-American finale to the last slam of the year. The Venus-Sloane match should be a cracker. I expect it will go three sets (and they could be long ones), but will likely end with the Queen Vee pirouette.

    As for Coco-Madison, I’m predicting a Coco breakthrough (the third time should be the charm, in other words). Her two recent losses to Madison will have been valuable learning experiences; Pat Cash will ensure she understands and uses those lessons to her advantage. And finally, there is no better venue for Coco’s large personality than NYC: they are perfectly suited.

    So, in my world, it’s Venus vs Coco in the final. It’s difficult to imagine Vee not winning that match; however, Coco also has the 2017 AO “fresh” in her mind. That match was close and I expect a USOpen rematch would be as well. Can’t wait to see if reality will jibe with my predictions…

    Thanks again, James, for your efforts in putting this blog on line!


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