Unseeded Sloane Stephens and No. 15-seed Madison Keys will face off in the 2017 U.S. Open final on Saturday in New York.
Stephens knocked out No. 9-seed Venus Williams in three sets in the semifinals, while Keys cruised past No. 20-seed CoCo Vandeweghe in straight sets on Thursday. Both women are competing for their maiden Grand Slam title.
The final is set to begin at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows. For the first time since Lindsay Davenport in 1998, an American woman not named Venus or Serena Williams will win the U.S. Open title.
So who will take home the title? Below, SI's tennis experts make their pick and predictions for the 2017 U.S. Open women's final.
The Pick: Stephens.
In the most tense moments of the tournament for her—the third sets against Venus Williams and Anastasija Sevastova—Stephens has been aggressive and steely, unafraid to hit big shots, unafraid to lose. Keys is the higher seed and the legitimate (slight) favorite based on her 2017 resume, but I love the way Stephens has played in New York. She wins in three.
The Pick: Keys.
I'm going to be the outlier on this panel and go with the higher-seeded, higher-ranked, younger player. If you're judging based on her last two matches, Keys looks like a Grand Slam champion waiting to be crowned. Check out these scorelines: Keys d. Kanepi 6-3, 6-3 in 68 minutes in the quarterfinals, Keys d. Vandeweghe 6-1, 6-2 in 66 minutes in the semifinals. (And that's compared to Stephens' three-set win over Anastasija Sevastova in two hours and 28 minutes in the quarterfinals, and Thursday's 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 win over Venus Williams in two hours and seven minutes.) Based on freshness and recovery alone, Keys seems to hold an advantage. I think the turning point for 22-year-old Keys came in the fourth round against fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina, a player who won five titles this year and was a top pick to win the U.S. Open. After that match, Keys annihilated her opponents in the next two rounds. It might take three sets on Saturday afternoon, but Keys will finish her run in New York as the champ.
The Pick: Stephens.
Keys and Stephens are very good friends, and somewhat surprisingly they've only played once—a 6-4, 6-2 victory for Stephens in Miami in 2015. Saturday's final is extremely difficult to call, especially considering Keys's excellent form since Wimbledon, having only lost one match. Keys played her best match of the tournament against CoCo Vandeweghe on Thursday, but I think the adversity Stephens has overcome this tournament—especially getting bageled by Venus in their second set and still managing to win the match—will give her crucial momentum entering the final. I'm backing Sloane to win in three sets and complete her incredible comeback from injury.
Snapshots from the women's semifinals
Best Moments from the U.S. Open 2017 Women's Semifinals