Published: Fri, September 07, 2018
Sport | By Stuart Potter

Defending U.S. Open Champion Sloane Stephens Is Out

Defending U.S. Open Champion Sloane Stephens Is Out

"I didn't play my best", she said.

"Today I just really couldn't get anything to connect". The two were neck-in-neck at 5-5 when Nadal carved out a match point with his forehand.

She won 59 points to just 28 for the unseeded Ukrainian, who knocked off No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.

The third was another tie break, this time won by Del Potro, before the heat forced the players off for a break in the fourth set.

Sevastova said she'd watch Tuesday night's match with interest to see who emerges as her last-four foe. And when you're, like, winning a tournament, you think that's normal. And a No. 38 ranking in 2016 became No. 11 past year, capped by a semifinal run here. It was hot for both of us.

For her part, Sevastova denied that she played an abundance of drop shots to exploit the evident heat-induced sluggishness of Stephens.

When asked to pick out the positives from her week in NY, she said: 'That I could have sh*t the bed in the first round, and that would have been really bad. Isner was trying to become the first American male semifinalist at the US Open since Andy Roddick in 2006. She broke to get back on serve at 3-4 in the second set, only to squander a 40-15 lead and allow a break after four deuces in the ensuing game. On this afternoon, del Potro played particularly clean tennis, making only 14 unforced errors, less than a third as many as Isner's 52. "I don't know how (Nick) Kyrgios and guys like that do it", Stephens said.

Man City vs Newcastle: Guardiola ready for Benitez’s Chelsea tactics
Obviously, Arsenal will still be tough because they are another top side, but maybe we will have a few more chances. When we play with four and we are attacking at the end and we are pushing, they can run in behind our defenders.

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The players put on courageous faces, but it certainly seemed that the conditions ruined a potentially grand occasion.

Serena Williams survived a scare from giant-killer Kaia Kanepi to claim a rollercoaster 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 win and move into the quarter-finals, a step closer to a record-equalling 24th career Grand Slam title. Even though Stephens put up some resistance in the second set, clawing back from 2-1 and 4-1 down, she couldn't quite shake Sevastova off. Nor did the crowd react, wondering, "What was that all about?"

When Sevastova returned to tennis in 2016, she stunned experts and players alike at Flushing Meadows when she beat 13th seed Johanna Konta of Britain to reach the quarter-finals. "Juan Martin is a great player everywhere", said Nadal who will be playing in a seventh semi-final in NY. Upsets will come and be in Sloane Stephens favor or be against her.

Stephens said that despite the manner of her defeat on Tuesday she was content with what she had achieved at this tournament. "I said to Dominic I am sorry". But the beaten defending champ can hold her head high.

Stephens, a surprise victor a year ago, had looked in fine form at Flushing Meadows as a number of her fellow top seeds were knocked out.

"Focusing on those little things definitely helped me in the earlier rounds". I'm not going to dwell on it. Now that this tournament is over, my focus is just getting back home and being with her. ...

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