Sloane Stephens: Defending US Open Champion Reaches Quarterfinals

Sloane Stephens: Defending US Open Champion Reaches Quarterfinals

Sloane Stephens: Defending US Open Champion Reaches Quarterfinals

Every round was a round closer for Stephens to defend her U.S. Open title from past year, but the steaming heat of the New York City summer and the sizzling shots of Sevastova had gotten the best of the number three femal tennis player in the world.

"When you don't play big points well, the match can get away from you".

"It was a really tough day and the heat didn't make it anymore fun".

Stephens was an 83rd-ranked outsider when she roared to the title past year, cementing her return from an 11-month injury absence. "That's the most important thing to me", she continued.

Sevastova looked rocky in the first set, but took advantage of uncharacteristically slow play from Stephens and won the first set 6-2.

"Sometimes it doesn't have to be the best shot, but making them play another shot, you might get another opportunity".

Sevastova said she'd watch Tuesday night's match with interest to see who emerges as her last-four foe.

The 28-year-old Sevastova, who avenged last year's quarter-final loss to Stephens in NY to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final, converted five of her eight break points and saved seven of the nine against her.

CZECH Republic’s Karolina Pliskova returns the ball against Serena Williams of the US during their quarter-final.—AFP
CZECH Republic’s Karolina Pliskova returns the ball against Serena Williams of the US during their quarter-final.—AFP

Encouraged by her home crowd, the world number three threatened a comeback by getting the match back on serve at 4-3 but was then broken again before Sevastova served out.

"Considering past year 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.

Sevastova, who is 28, made the first Grand Slam semifinal of her career by hitting 18 winners to 13 for Stephens, while firing only one more unforced error than the American.

"I did not have many goals", Sevastova said of her return. Entering the quarterfinals at the grand slam, she is on what could be another championship run. "Maybe the top 100". "I played a solid match so I couldn't really ask for any more".

"It was an wonderful journey, this three, four years". "Right now you're so in the tournament and you don't feel it".

The 14-year-old comes into this tournament as the second-ranked junior in the world after winning the girls' French Open title earlier this year. "So after I stop at some point I will look at it and I will be proud of myself, for sure".

"Either way, against Serena or Karolina, it's going to be a tough match". The two will square off in the semi-finals on Thursday, with the 23-time major champion Williams starting as the firm favourite.

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