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U.S. Open: Defending champ Stephens eliminated in quarter-finals

05 September, 2018, 03:18 | Author: Tommie Newton
  • Sloane Stephens US Open

Nadal beat Del Potro in the semi-finals last year at Flushing Meadows, and again this year in the semi-finals of the French Open. Now ranked No.18, ranked inside the Top 20 every week but four since her debut on May 15, 2017, she claimed her fifth hard court semifinal of her career, having advanced to that stage - but never further - at 2010 Monterrey, 2017 Dubai, 2017 Zhuhai and 2018 Brisbane.

Sevastova, who avenged last year's quarter-final loss to Stephens in NY to reach her first grand slam semi-final, converted five of her eight break points and saved seven of the nine against her on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.

Ninth-seeded Austrian Thiem is in his fourth Grand Slam quarter-final, but his first outside Roland Garros - where he was soundly beaten in the final by Nadal three months ago. "When you're playing a whole new draw, different seedings, different ranking, there's so much that goes into it". "The fact that I made it to the quarterfinals, played some really good matches, competed as hard as I could, I mean, a lot to be proud of". She broke Stephens twice in the opening set, including at love in the final game.

Stephens, who was visibly struggling under the sauna-like conditions, simply had no answer for the steady stream of drop shots sent her way by Sevastova, who later said she was not trying to take advantage of the conditions.

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The Argentine won the next tie-break and then broke in the second game of the fourth set en route to victory.

"Defending a title is very hard, very difficult."
But the liberating effect of her shout after the last point offered just a short-lived relief. Stephens went just 1 of 9 on her second serves, canceling out an outstanding 81 percent first serve percentage.

"I know she has a big game, but I have a big game too", Pliskova said. Sevastova actually retired from tennis for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, so she's coming back in a big way. In an nearly irrational, inexplicable eighth game, the Latvian missed two opportunities but Stephens failed to hold despite her seventh forehand victor of the set.

More than just a three hour, 31 minute marathon, the quarter-final was a test of survival played in suffocating humidity so extreme that officials called a halt to junior matches on the outside courts for more than two hours.

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