Published: Fri, September 07, 2018
Sport | By Patty Hardy

Latvian Sevastova stuns defending champ Stephens in US Open quarters

Latvian Sevastova stuns defending champ Stephens in US Open quarters

Back then it would have been hard to imagine the scene yesterday when she upset defending U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-3 to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final, marking the latest chapter in her remarkable career comeback. Just simple: "Make them play an extra ball and see what happens". It just was a really tough day.

Stephens was an 83rd-ranked outsider when she roared to the title past year, cementing her return from an 11-month injury absence.

Stephens returned to NY with a spring in her step amid hopes of becoming the first woman to retain a Grand Slam title since Serena Williams triumphed at Wimbledon in 2015 and 2016.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal shockingly was shut out in the first set of his U.S. Open quarterfinal before coming back to beat No. 9 seed Dominic Thiem 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) in 4 hours, 49 minutes.

Sevastova looked rocky in the first set, but took advantage of uncharacteristically slow play from Stephens and won the first set 6-2. You've got to play.

The exit of the third seed means Karolina Pliskova is the only member of the top 10 remaining ahead of her last-eight clash with Serena Williams on Tuesday evening.

Next up for Stephens, who at number three is the highest seed left in the women's draw, is a repeat of last year's quarter-final against Latvian Anastasija Sevastova. Stephens clawed back to 4-3 and had chances to level up but Sevastova's drop shots caught her off guard time and again and a particularly devilish one presented her with the chance to serve for the match.

Stephens said that despite the manner of her defeat on Tuesday she was content with what she had achieved at this tournament. Entering the quarterfinals at the grand slam, she is on what could be another championship run.

Although she's playing better now than ever, the 28-year-old said she's also trying to enjoy the challenge more. "Right now you're so in the tournament and you don't feel it".

Obviously from three, there's only two more spots to go.

"In the end it's fantastic, you can't believe it".

Gauff said she tried both those sports, but found her niche with tennis. "After I stop at some point I will look at it and I will be proud of myself for sure". "When you're winning a tournament, you think that's normal".

She then dropped her racket and held her hands to her face as a Stephens shot went into the net on the match's final point.

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