I honestly cannot remember a time when I was so made up for one player and absolutely devastated for the other! That’s how I feel after the Sloane v Venus semi! Two players, I am well known for being fans of! The match ended up being a right see-saw battle that balanced out in the decider to give us a nerve-jangling finale! Stephens 6/1 0/6 7/5 victory once again had the trademark strengths that have served her so well on her return. Her ability to hit big, hit with consistency, her movement, and her focus were all once again on show in abundance! A massive play at *4/5 30-30 turned the match for the final time in Sloane’s favour and she didn’t look back from there! Venus was two points away from victory when a point of substance with precision hitting from both ended with a slice approach from Venus that Sloane hammered for a backhand winner on the half volley. It was the start of 7 straight points that saw her serve it out to 15. The movement has been immense and her ability to always get the extra ball back has caused opponents big problems! Mix this in with the power she has and you have one hell of a player! She deserves this, she has been outstanding! Genuinely so pleased for her!
Gutted for Venus, it is clear how much she wants one final slam and this was a hard defeat to take. As is always the case she left everything out there but it just wasn’t quite enough and she took the defeat with the usual class that we have come to expect from her. She came out slowly and picked herself up in the second set and the decider was an absolute classic. Despite not getting what her passion for the game has merited Venus has had a quality season. I will say if EVERY player had her passion and love for the game some of the interviews that have been conducted over the last few months wouldn’t have happened, or become headlines! Respect!
Madison Keys followed this, by in truth giving Coco a going over. Keys played well and Coco didn’t, it was as simple as that for me, 6/1 6/2. Keys was lethal but Coco was a bit all over the place. Pat Cash (Coco’s coach) said before he didn’t expect a hang up after the last round and neither did I, but she never got going.It is all about learning with Vandeweghe and nobody can take away her two semis and a quarterfinal showing in the majors this year. Keys was on it from the word go, serving out of her nut and hitting big. Very impressive! She did go off court for treatment on her right thigh at 4/1 in the second but said it was because she felt a bit of pain, so wanted to make sure it didn’t worsen! There certainly didn’t look to be any problems but to go off at that stage in the match would suggest there is! This was a very dominant display though so it’s easier to play through then. One thing is for sure Sloane will test it on Saturday!
Andy Del Potro