Veteran Venus Williams fell from the heights of her soaring run Thursday night when she lost to fellow American, and relative newcomer, Sloane Stephens in the first of two semifinals at the US Open. Stephens largely secured her victory by coming out calm and collected, taking the first set 6-1. Williams, seemingly the more nervous of the two, demonstrated her sagacity when she came back to win the second set at love. Stephens ousted the favorite Williams in a thrilling third set nail biter by a score of 7-5, breaking Williams late and never looking back.

Fans of both Stephens and Williams expressed their amazement at the outcome, solidifying an incredible run for the young American as she has risen almost 900 ranking spots in the last month.

Her sudden rise in the rankings is largely due to her dramatic comeback from a 12-month injury setback, punctuated by her stunning run of form in the US Open. She becomes only the 14th unseeded player to reach a Grand Slam final in the open era.

Many observers still paid homage to two-time US Open Champ Williams and her outstanding career:

Stephens caps an impressive comeback from injury

No one expressed more emotion than the victor and first-time Grand Slam finalist, Sloane Stephens, who surprised herself with her gutsy comeback from a serious stress fracture.

“I have no words to describe what it took, what I’m feeling, the journey I took to get here,” said the 24-year-old American per USA Today, who wiped away tears several times after the match. “I have no idea (how I got here). Your guess is just as good as mine."

Though she seemed surprise at her success, there were some glimmers of hope prior to the US Open.

After injuries kept her out of tennis from the Rio Olympics until Wimbledon in July, she managed to make the semi-finals of tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati. Still, she hadn't faced the caliber of players she has beaten in New York: “If someone told me I’d reach two semis and a Grand Slam final (this summer), I would’ve passed out,” Stephens told the crowd after the game.

Composure trumps experience

In her long-awaited match against Williams, Stephens showed how far she had come back from a stress fracture in her left foot near the ankle. She brought a level of placidity to her game that contrasted with the surprising nervousness of Williams. When the 49 time WTA winner, Williams, served herself back into the game with a dominating second set, it looked like as if Stephens, who has won only five WTA tournaments, was poised to succumb to her opponents maturity.

In the end, it came down to a nail-biting, jaw- wrenching third set, which elicited multiple standing ovations. When Stephens finally broke Williams to go up 6-5, she was home free, beating her rival and her hero, and making her first major final ever.

Williams tackles personal battles, on and off the court

Williams made no excuses for her loss. "I just wasn't playing well. Those are moments where you have to dig deep and figure out how to get the ball on the court and have a big game. I can't be tentative and try to figure out how to put that ball in,'' Williams said in an interview with CNN. "Clearly she's seen me play many, many times. I haven't seen her play as much.''

While she didn’t provide excuses, it is important to note Venus' tenacity in fighting back against her recent plethora of challenges and hardships.

From her struggles with injury, to her sister's pregnancy, to her involvement in a fatal car accident, Venus has had a long and tenuous road to the 2017 US Open.

As she bows out of her latest run towards the top, only time will tell if the 37-year-old will be able to match the technique, power, and agility of younger players like Stephens.

Looking ahead

Stephens now lives the reality of preparing for her first Grand Slam final. Her opponent, Madison Keys, used pinpoint serving and powerful ground strokes to ease into the final in scintillating fashion. Saturday afternoon’s final promises to be truly exhilarating, as two American, first-time Grand Slam finalists duke it out. The first all American final since 2002 will likely be decided by the fitness and of each athlete, as both are coming off of career-threatening injuries.

Regardless of the outcome, the last major of the year promises to end in exciting fashion.

The men's Semifinals also promise to be exciting with Rafael Nadal trying to do what fellow "goat" Federer could not.