Petra Kvitová has been knocked out in the quarter-finals of the US Open in NY.
Stephens was up first, and the former Australian Open semifinalist outlasted 16 seed Latvian Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4), booking her spot in the final four and continuing her remarkable summer comeback.
It will be an all-American affair in the semis as 37-year-old Williams and Sloane Stephens do battle.
The 2000 and 2001 U.S. Open champion continued to serve nearly perfectly and pocketed the opening set when Kvitova, who hit 16 unforced errors, returned long. So from my side, in a couple of days, I hope that I will say, good job. The experienced American had two chances in this season to secure another Grand Slam trophy in her already rich career. "No one ever gives you a slam".
Estonian 418th-ranked qualifier Kaia Kanepi has matched Barbara Gerken from 1981 for the deepest run by any US Open women's qualifier.
"I think my head is a little clearer", she said. After a 20-year career, she still plays the game because she loves the game and wants to win. "The world we live in is just shocking". It wasn't easy to hold serve or break serve.
Down a break in the third, Venus fought back.
".I won't be able to compete in (next month's) events in Beijing and Shanghai, and most likely, the final two events (of) the season in Vienna and Paris due to my hip injury which has been bothering me the last few months", he wrote on Facebook.
Despite the familiarity of the surroundings and the overwhelming amount of good wishes from fellow players and supporters, her return to the tennis spotlight has been a huge challenge over many weeks and months. I'm just honored to be able to play at the same time as her.
At that point play was held up for several minutes while the roof was closed because of rain, but the break did not change the pattern of the match as Kvitova steadfastly held on to her serve in the face of nearly unrelenting attack from Williams.
Despite defeat, it has been a wonderful fortnight for dual Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who has not long returned to the tour after she was injured in a knife attack last winter.
The outcome of this third-set tiebreaker would determine whether Williams would continue on her quest for her first major title in nine years. Williams won five straight points to take a commanding 6-1 lead before winning, Kvitova losing on three of her four serves in the tiebreak. However, Williams had the crowd firmly in her corner-what felt like all the 22,000-and she had a steely look in her eyes.
"Had the 6'6" American take things to a fifth, it nearly certainly would have led to the latest finish in tournament history (currently three matches tied at 2:26 a.m.).
"I think Venus is just our leader", Sloane Stephens said. Even more so when she had a point for a 4-2 lead.
Williams and Stephens could be joined in the last four by compatriots Coco Vandeweghe and Madison Keys, who are both playing on Wednesday. "She's a champion. I think she can win it - I hope so". "So when you see that gap opening bigger in your favor, it feels wonderful".