Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Sloane Stephens finds herself back in US Open quarterfinals

Sloane Stephens US Open Stephens targets redemption in Asia after US Open defeat
Eugene Bates | 07 September, 2018, 04:47

She made three errors with and Stephens belted a forehand victor for the break and a 4-3 lead. "I wish I could have played better, but it just wasn't the day". It was just a tough day. "But on the same time, not make too many mistakes", said the 24-year-old Thiem.

There were other, similar efforts of that sort by the 25-year-old American.

And while conceding that seeing the defence of her title come to an end was a huge disappointment, Stephens was relieved to make it as far as she did in the tournament. Her season was building up towards the last Slam of the season.

Beforehand, Williams took revenge for Halep and reached the quarterfinals of the US Open.

Stephens was ranked 83rd in the world when she upset Sevastova in three sets at the same stage a year ago, trailing by a break in the third set before winning it in a tiebreaker.

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.

She will play the victor of Tuesday's night match between Serena Williams and Karolina Pliskova in the last four. The petite Latvian was seen constantly frowning and mumbling to her box.

The world No 1 recovered from a first-set bagel to defeat Thiem and reach the US Open semi-finals following another late-night classic in NY.

The victory match went to Anastasija Sevastova 6-2, 6-3 and it was the press conference afterwards that Stephens told her own tale of woe saying "I didn't convert and play the big points well and you don't win matches when you don't take the opportunities.Mentally, physically I just wasn't connecting". Then she lobs me to my forehand. Also good serve and moving well. After all my problems, I think it's time to celebrate these kind of things. There were only a few more games that Sevastova had to do in sealing the round and Stephens' unforced errors were part of the problem which kept appearing like an unwanted guest at a celebration.

The Latvian, already 4-2 up, finished off the opening set by winning eight of the last nine points.

"I like to play always with the No. 1 of the world, doesn't matter the tournament or the conditions or the weather".

More than just a three hour, 31 minute marathon, the quarter-final was a test of survival played in suffocating humidity so extreme that officials called a halt to junior matches on the outside courts for more than two hours.

It was Stephens' less-heralded Latvian opponent who has been taking her opportunities in NY. The No. 3 seed was broken five times in the 84-minute match.

Each man blew chances to gain control and perhaps have a much quicker ending to a match that had wild swings of momentum.

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