Stephens had beaten Sevastova in the same round a year ago en route to her first Grand Slam title. But Stephens leaves Flushing neither crushed nor embarrassed. “So after I stop at some point I will look at it and I will be proud of myself, for sure”. Just simple: “Make them play an extra ball and see what happens”. At the US Open, she seemed to be cruising after having squeezed out of a tight spot in the second round against Anhelina Kalinina, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-2. “But on the same time, not make too many mistakes”, said the 24-year-old Thiem. When you go to a tournament, it starts all over again. “She handled it better”.
The Argentine won the next tie-break and then broke in the second game of the fourth set en route to victory.
“Well, it definitely means a lot for me, and I always thought if I were to win a Grand Slam, the first one I’d want to win is the US Open, because I have grown up here and, like, then my grandparents can come and watch”, she said.
World number three Stephens, refused to blame the punishing afternoon heat and humidity for her lapses against Sevastova, including an inability to convert any of seven break chances in the opening set. You’ve still got a lot of work to go.
“I think it was very physical today”, Sevastova, who lost to Stephens during a U.S. Open tune-up in Montreal last month, said during her on-court interview. But Pliskova did not manage to put any of Williams’ serves in play on those key points.
On Wednesday, Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese woman to advance to a Grand Slam in 22 years when she beat Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-1. She didn’t even try for it.
Quarter-finals: 17-Serena Williams (US) bt 8-Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) 6-4, 6-3; 19-Anastasija Sevastova (Latvia) bt 3-Sloane Stephens (US) 6-2, 6-3. She plays a little bit different than most girls.
No. 3 Stephens mixed her consistent, defense-to-offense style with the occasionally spectacular shot.
“It was an fantastic journey, this three, four years, ” she said. The Open announcers said that she was battling a cold, and the absolutely stifling conditions weren’t helping her energy level.
Sevastova’s game plan worked. But the beaten defending champ can hold her head high.
“Defending a title is very hard, very difficult.”
‘Well, considering past year after this tournament I sh*t the bed for like 10 tournaments in a row, I definitely don’t have any points to defend.’ she added.
“I think it will be a good match”, Stephens added. Now that this tournament is over, my focus is just getting back home and being with her. …