Unprecedented All-Black Women’s U.S. Open Semifinal Is Possible

    The quarterfinals of the 2018 Womens U.S. Open could be a watershed moment in the history of womens tennis as four Black tennis players are competing for the opportunity to advance to the semifinals. Three represent America and one represents Japan.  

    It would be an unprecedented Black Girl Magic moment if they all advanced.  

    WORDSMITH on Twitter

    I know most black people don’t watch tennis, but listen up…. there are 4 black women (Williams, Stephens, Osaka & Keys) in the US Open women’s Quarterfinals. If they win we will have an all-black Semifinal. Please support these talented ladies!!!

    Serena Williams is showing no ill effects from her maternity leave and has regained her status as the GOAT in womens tennis. Last season, she played the cut awaiting the birth of her baby, watched her sister Venus make a Cinderella Majors run and saw the future of womens tennis and the African-American impact on American tennis blossom before her eyes as Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys squared off in an All-Black finals in Flushing, Queens. 

    Stephens is looking formidable in defense of her 2017 title. The young assassin is trying to cement her grip on the baton that shes been trying to pry from Serenas hands, but the Queen of Court is holding onto it like a vice grip. 

    Stephens will face Anastasija Sevastova at 12 pm and Serena will square off against Karolina Pliskova at 7 pm on Tuesday.  

    WTA on Twitter

    Can @Sloane Stephens buck the trend and continue her @USOpen title defense? Can @SerenaWilliams top @KaPliskova in a battle of serves? @WTA_Insider Previews the Quarterfinals–> https://t.co/0862W4z1ub

    No. 14 seed Madison Keys obliterated her fourth-round opponent, No. 29 seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-3, in the opening Labor Day match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Keys lost to Sloane Stephens in last year’s final and also lost to Stephens again this year in the French Open semifinals. Keys wouldn’t mind breaking that streak as she moves on to face Carla Suarez Navarro, who upset Maria Sharapova. The 23-year-old Keys is still seeking her peak as a player and has made at least the quarterfinals in three of the four Grand Slams this year. 

    US Open Tennis on Twitter

    R4 @Madison_Keys powers past Cibulkova 6-1, 6-3 to reach the QF! She awaits the winner of Sharapova/Suarez Navarro… https://t.co/E4LtmAC3SX #USOpen https://t.co/cztEQfFyPB

    Naomi Osaka also reached the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 win over Aryna Sabalenka, becoming the first Japanese woman to make the final eight at a Grand Slam in 14 years. Osaka will meet Lesia Tsurenko in the quarterfinals. 

    Osaka grew up in Florida and is the daughter of a Haitian man and Japanese woman. In addition to her international Black Girl magnificence, she also became the first Japanese woman to make the final eight at a Grand Slam in 14 years, so shes already a legend in Japan. Back in 1995, it was Kimiko Date (who fell in the quarterfinal). Osaka said in her press conference, I’m glad I was able to be a part of something like that today. 

    US Open Tennis on Twitter

    Tears of Joy: An emotional win for @Naomi_Osaka_ as she outlasts Sabalenka in 3 sets to reach her first ever Grand Slam QF… #USOpen https://t.co/b6flq3WRyh

    The fact that she is also Black, gives her accomplishment cross-cultural status. The possibility of Osaka being a part of the first All-Black womens U.S. Open semifinal is historically significant and continues the tradition and dominance of Black tennis stars that have increased the possibilities for people of color to excel at a sport that was considered a white persons personal playground. That was until Richard, Venus and Serena kicked down the door, shifted the culture, built an empire and have ruled the landscape for more than two decades. 

    2018 US Open highlights: Serena Williams needs third set but advances to quarterfinals | ESPN

    Highlights from Serena Williams vs Kaia Kanepi: Serena Williams dominates Kaia Kanepi in the first set, but Kanepi would take the second set leading to a decisive third set. Williams would break Kanepi early and that would be enough for her to win the match 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 at the 2018 US Open.

    The WTA has never experienced such Black girl excellence on the tennis courts. And with Serena and Venus in the twilight of their careers, the U.S. Open sets the stage for the next generation of Black women from all over the world, to continue evolving and expanding the popularity and accessibility of tennis.   

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.