And as Stephens posed for photos mid-court with the trophy above her head, the lid fell off, leading to more smiles. She is looking to end the longest drought between major titles (36 majors) and become the oldest woman to win a major in the Open Era.
Young guns Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys are set to make their grand slam final debuts at the US Open this weekend, but it's not just American vs American, it's also mate vs mate. She reached a career high singles ranking of 11th in the world, but is unseeded at the US Open due to a significant foot injury that required surgery and forced her out of play earlier in the year.
"If there's someone that I had to lose to today, I'm glad it was her".
As the match ended, Stephens and Keys met center court and hugged for a while. She was unstoppable thereafter, closing the set 6-3.
Keys, 22, had little trouble in pushing aside fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe in her semifinal match, winning 6-2, 6-1. On Sep 5th, Stephens entered into Semi finals by defeating No 16th seed Sevastova with a score of 6-3, 3-6, 7-6, 7-4.
An ESPN video of post-tournament ceremonies shows Stephens - Keys by her side - accepting the check. "It's incredible. I don't know how I got here. I'm not just going to let them take it from me", Stephens said.
"I just have to say thanks to my team because in the toughest times we stuck together".
"I have no words to describe what I'm feeling, what it took to get here, just the journey I've been on, I have no words", she said. Obviously I didn't play my best tennis today and was disappointed, but Sloane being the great friend that she is was very supportive.
Williams said, "It was definitely a contrast of play". She reached the semifinals in Toronto and Cincinnati prior to arriving at Flushing Meadows, N.Y., and has won 13 of her past 15 matches against top-50 opponents.