Last US men's hope ousted as Del Potro topples John Isner

Tyler Owen
September 7, 2018

Defending champion Sloane Stephens has been knocked out of the US Open in the quarter-finals after defeat by 19th seed Anastasija Sevastova.

"The fact that I made it to the quarter-finals and played some really good matches, and I just competed as hard as I could, a lot to be proud of", she said.

Stephens, who said she had been dealing with a sinus infection, rued all of her wasted opportunities against Sevastova, most notably the seven break points she failed to convert in the first set.

Stephens got back on serve from the shade once more but was unable to force a third set, as another break from Sevastova left her serving for the match, which she put to bed at the third time of asking. Sevastova, forced out of the game by injuries in 2013 before launching a comeback almost two years later, showed some steely resolve, serving it out on her third match-point opportunity.

If Monday was "prime-time upset time" when Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova wilted under the sweltering heat, fans had more reason to cheer on Tuesday after Serena Williams defeated Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3.

Rafael Nadal could feel grateful that it is 48 years since the US Open introduced, uniquely among the Grand Slams, a deciding set tiebreak.

What does being bounced out of the U.S. Open in the quarterfinal round mean now to Sloane Stephens?

In her last two matches, Sevastova has defeated Stephens and No. 7 Elina Svitolina.

Rafael Nadal outlasts Dominic Thiem in marathon match at US Open
That mistake might have stayed in Nadal's head, because he played terribly in the ensuing tiebreaker. Thiem collected 24 of the opening set's 31 points, thanks in large part to a 13-3 edge in winners.

It'll be a rematch of last year's U.S. Open quarterfinal, won by Stephens in a third-set tiebreaker.

"When you're playing a whole new draw, different seedings, different ranking, there's so much that goes into it".

Stephens looked like she might have gained a foothold when she broke back for 2-1 at the start of the second set, letting out a scream of defiance, only for Sevastova to win the next two games. "Enjoy the game." she said.

There was a wobble for Williams as she dropped her serve in the second set, coughing up one of her five double faults on break point as Pliskova narrowed the gap to 4-1.

In among the wrist surgeries and long lay-offs, Del Potro has made three semi-finals, losing to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon in 2013 and then Rafael Nadal here a year ago and at the French Open this summer.

"We fought the whole match and I survived with my serve which was key". "But I don't play dropshots when I see the player struggling or bending over, no", Sevastova told reporters.

"It's just very hard to deal with. It's been a few, couple, rough semis for me", Williams said.

"I lost my nerves a little bit", Sevastova admitted. I'm just going to try to play the rest of the season as hard as I can and hopefully have some more good results'.

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