Madison Keys saw off a weak challenge from CoCo Vandeweghe to reach her maiden grand slam final at the US Open on Friday.
The second all-American semi-final of the day saw Keys breeze past a hapless Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-2 in just 67 minutes on the hard courts of Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Keys superb return game neutralised Vandeweghe’s serve, her biggest weapon. In fact, such was Keys’ brilliance that Vandeweghe did not manage to land one ace. She then attempted to chase the match, falling way short and notching up 22 unforced errors to just nine winners.
Keys was out of the blocks fast, racing to a 4-0 lead after a double break. From there, she held serve to take the set.
Vandeweghe was a touch more competitive in the second set, finally, getting to deuce on Keys’ serve. The New York native had to make that count as she was already a break down, but Keys held serve to go 3-1 up, after which she broke Vandeweghe once more on her way to victory.
“It feels absolutely amazing,” said the 22-year-old after the match.
“You know, these are the moments growing up that you dream about, and to be sitting here as a US Open finalist, it feels really amazing.”
Waiting for Keys in the final is another first-time grand slam finalist, Sloane Stephens, who upset two-time US Open winner Venus Williams earlier in the day.
The pair have met just once before on the WTA Tour, at the 2015 Miami Masters, where Stephens won in straight sets. But Keys revealed their history goes beyond that clash.
“I have known Sloane since we were juniors,” added the world number 16.
“We played junior tournaments together. We have been on Fed Cup teams together. Whenever we are around, we try to go to dinner with each other and hang out.
“I think Sloane is really good at defending, obviously, but I think we’re similar in the fact that we both like to try to attack and be on offense. I would say she’s probably more comfortable defending and not going for bigger shots before me, but I would say we are very similar in a lot of ways.”