US Open 2017: CoCo Vandeweghe makes it three Americans (so far) in semifinals

Tennis: U.S. Open
CoCo Vandeweghe reacts after defeating Karolina Pliskova of and advancing to the US Open semifinals. USATSI

No. 20 seed CoCo Vandeweghe defeated top-seeded Karolina Pliskova 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 on Wednesday to advance the US Open women's semifinals.

The first three women to reach the semifinals -- Vandeweghe, Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams -- are from the United States, with No. 15 seed Madison Keys lined up to play at 7 p.m. ET against Kaia Kanepi.

Pliskova will lose her No. 1 WTA ranking with the loss despite an excellent tournament showing. In the end Vandeweghe (and specifically Vandeweghe's serve) proved too much throughout the match.

This is easily the best American women's performance at this event since 2002, when five of the top eight were U.S. players. If Keys defeats Kanepi in her semifinal matchup Wednesday evening, it could easily be argued that this crop has been even more successful. Furthermore, while 2002 had "the usual suspects" Venus and Serena Williams with Lindsay Davenport, 2017 is featuring comeback stories such as Stephens, Vandeweghe and Keys, all of whom are young players that have battled injuries in their young careers. Venus Williams is having a spectacular season as well, in spite of being the oldest player remaining by five years (Kanepi is 32).

The young stars have energized the crowds in New York, with Vandeweghe having a decided home-court advantage on Pliskova. After the match, Vandeweghe talked about what winning this match meant to her. Pliskova is the second No. 1 player that Vandeweghe has taken down this year after her victory over Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open.

"When I won this event as a junior at 16, I always dreamed about being on the real stage," Vandewedge said. "I did expect it overnight when I was 16, but it is a process and now here I am and I couldn't wish for anything better. I watched the match last night with Venus. She said it best, we have to admire Serena and Venus, Lindsay and Jennifer, they all inspired me as an American coming up, and let's make it four for four." 

Vandeweghe took the match in fitting fashion: with her serve. It looked overpowering all afternoon, as Pliskova couldn't seem to keep up with balls that were consistently clocked between 105 and 115 mph. It was a powerhouse performance from a powerhouse player. As for the No. 1 ranking, that will belong to French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, who was defeated by Petra Kvitova in the Round of 16 (depriving us of a French Open final grudge match between Muguruza and Venus Williams). Now, however, all eyes will be on Madison Keys as she tries to guarantee an American US Open champion -- with two rounds left to play. 

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