Wednesday 22 November 2017 / 11:49 PM

VENUS POISED FOR TOP-FIVE COMEBACK

Venus Williams has kept her dreams alive of reclaiming the world No.1 ranking, pulling off an emphatic victory against Petra Kvitova in the US Open quarterfinals.

Williams defeated Kvitova in a three-set epic 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (2) lasting two hours and 34 minutes to reach her ninth semi-final at Flushing Meadows.

It’s the first time since 2010 the former champion has advanced this far at the grand slam.

“I felt everyone single one of you here, all 23,000 of you,” Williams said during her post match on-court interview in front of her home crowd.

“I didn’t want to let you guys down.”

Williams is now poised to launch back into the top five of the world rankings.

She could also potentially overtake Karolina Pliskova at the peak should she go on to win the title.

A staggering eight WTA players had the opportunity to clinch the top ranking this fortnight coming into the US Open.

But Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina, Caroline Wozniacki, Johanna Konta and Svetlana Kuznetsova all sacrificed their chance after exiting the tournament.

Williams is now just two wins away from her first grand slam title on home soil since 2001.

Her next challenge is against countrywoman Sloane Stephens.

Stephens holds the 1-0 advantage against Williams but they have not played against each other since 2015 and they have never clashed on the hard surface.

The 24-year-old is enjoying a resurgent comeback of her own, having only returned to action after 11 months at Wimbledon.

Stephens underwent surgery on her left foot in January which left her sidelined until a first round exit at Wimbledon.

It’s just the second time Stephens has reached the final four at a major tournament. Her only previous appearance was at the Australian Open four years ago.

“I’m getting teary-eyed. This is just incredible. When I started my comeback at Wimbledon I could have never even have dreamed of something like this happening, making the semi-finals of my home slam, my favourite tournament,” Stephens said.

Williams and Stephens will clash in the semi-final on Thursday.

Meanwhile, at the top half of the draw Pliskova will battle to reach the final four against the fiery Coco Vandeweghe tonight.

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Alyssia Varricchio

Alyssia Varricchio is a sports reporter, journalist and producer based in Melbourne.

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