Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

US Open 2018: Defending champion Sloane Stephens knocked out by Anastasija Sevastova

US Open 2018: Defending champion Sloane Stephens knocked out by Anastasija Sevastova

Dominic Thiem was devastated to lose the five-set thriller against Rafael Nadal 6-0, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5) in the US Open quarter-final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Tuesday night. Asked if there were any positives she could take from her run, Stephens said: "That I could have shit the bed in the first round and that would have been really bad".

Nadal - the reigning US Open champion - booked his place in the semi-finals of the US Open with a gripping five-set victory over Thiem on Wednesday morning United Kingdom time.

"They made me better", Ferrer told Radio Marca.

Sportsmail understands the likely outcome will be a "new day" policy, which in the same circumstances will allow matches to finish outdoors rather than with the roof still in place. I was struggling also a little bit, but I didn't show it that much. "The heat doesn't make it any more fun".

Even as Stephens fought for her competitive life at Arthur Ashe Stadium, tournament officials were in the process of suspending play among juniors on the National Tennis Center's outside courts. When Stephens cracked a monstrous forehand victor to fend off a break point while serving at 0-1 in second set, it seemed to take an extra second for the spectators to process what they'd seen and muster a passable cheer. Sevastova has gone three sets in three of her first four matches, including a roller-coaster fourth-round victory over seventh-seeded Elina Svitolina. "We're both exhausted in the end".

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

"I was thinking, 'You know, I can play better.' So that was the good news", she said.

"I can be proud of a lot of things that happened the last couple, the matches that I played, so I'm not going to dwell on it".

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Williams took down her Czech opponent in two sets, winning 6-4, 6-3 in their quarterfinal meeting Tuesday - Williams' first win against a Top-10 ranked opponent in 2018.

The following year, Williams again lost in the semis, this time to Pliskova.

Sevastova, who retired from tennis in 2013 due to injuries before returning in 2015, almost let Stephens into the match in the second set as the American twice pulled back on serve at 2-1 and again at 4-3, but the fightback proved short-lived.

"I don't think he's really sorry", Thiem joked.

"Still long way to go, I think", she said. But the challenge of playing him on hard of course is even higher for me personally than playing against him on clay.

"And obviously defending a title is very hard, very difficult".

Wimbledon will be the most adamant of the four in resisting moves to extend legal coaching during matches, but there is likely to be more agreement on ditching the idea of reducing the number of seeds from 32 to 16.

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