Latvian Anastasija Sevastova topples Sloane Stephens in NY

Sloane Stephens US Open

Sloane Stephens US Open

Sevastova herself relies on variety more than power, and she caught a slow-moving Stephens with a number of drop shots and drop-shot lob combinations.

Stephens had used some obscene words out of desperaiton for not being able to execute her shots with pinpoint precision like in the other three rounds to win the match. It was just a tough day. The heat doesn't make it any more fun.

As the reigning champion, the spotlight was brighter on Stephens at this tournament - her home Slam.

As one American star lost in the main draw Tuesday, another of the country's rising stars was on display at the U.S. Open. Her season was building up towards the last Slam of the season.

She and Pliskova have history at Flushing Meadows.

"Last year I was almost one point away from doing that too", said Nadal, referring to his close five-setter with Gilles Muller in the Wimbledon fourth round last season.

Anastasija Sevastova ended Sloane Stephens' US Open title defence on Tuesday (Sep 4), toppling the world number three 6-2, 6-3 to reach a first Grand Slam semi-final.

"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. Then she lobs me to my forehand. Also backhand. It's like it comes at you so fast. "I have to try and consolidate that good feeling I had on serve in the second set and I finished serving well as well".

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"I just play them instinctively, and that's how they work, or don't work sometimes". "When I was a break down in the final set, I thought I would even break a leg if needed so I could get to every ball".

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.

It was Stephens' less-heralded Latvian opponent who has been taking her opportunities in NY. Given a second chance at tennis, she is making most of it. But having returned to tennis in 2015, Sevastova has risen steadily through the ranks and is now ranked No 18 in the world.

"Obviously it won't be easy", she said. "I had to dig a little bit deeper to win a point", Mertens said.

Sevastova said: "It was an awesome journey, this three, four years". Right now you're in the tournament, you're playing next tournament next week, and you don't feel it, you know. "And when you're winning a tournament, you think that's normal".

As endearing as Sevastova's comeback story is, she faces probably the toughest prospect in women's tennis: Serena Williams.

"There is still semi-finals", she said.

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