Stephens looks to Asia after US Open ouster

07 September, 2018, 06:07 | Author: Marlene Myers
  • Karolina Pliskova

Sloane Stephens saw her hopes of defending her U.S. Open title go up in smoke on Tuesday as Anastasija Sevastova progressed to the semifinals on a red-hot day in NY. Just simple: "Make them play an extra ball and see what happens". But having returned to tennis in 2015, Sevastova has risen steadily through the ranks and is now ranked No 18 in the world.

Playing in punishing heat and humidity, with a sinus infection that has plagued her since the tournament began, Stephens shied away from excuses, saying she just didn't play well enough to win.

"I could have shit the bed (lost) in the first round, and that would have been really bad", Stephens, who is projected to drop five spots to eighth in the world rankings, told reporters.

Williams and Stephens first have to win quarterfinal matches Tuesday.

"It was an fantastic journey this three, four years", Sevastova told reporters after the match, a repeat of last month's Rogers Cup semi which Stephens won in straight sets.

Indeed Stephens fought back to narrow the gap to 4-3, but Sevastova grabbed another break with a well-timed drop shot for a 5-3 lead and sealed the victory on her third match point when a tired Sephens put a backhand into the net.

"Considering a year ago after this tournament I s*** the bed for like 10 tournaments in a row, I definitely don't have any points to defend", she said.

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The turning point in the first set came with the players tied at 1-1 and locked in an attritional battle for the third game in which Sevastova faced four break points.

The 19th-seeded Latvian said the rigours of the tournament at flushing Meadows have not given her a moment to consider the long odds she overcame to regain her competitive form. "Maybe the top 100". "I think she lost also her nerves a little bit, it's normal". "Right now you're so in the tournament and you don't feel it".

Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens can give the United States two U.S. Open semifinalists, a year after an all-American women's final four.

"In the end it's incredible, you can't believe it". I don't know. It's going to be a close match, I think.

"So 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, I mean, a lot to be proud of".

"I hope I will enjoy it, playing semi-finals". Previous year he lost a very tough match against Del Potro here.

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