Defending champion Stephens knocked out of US Open last eight by Sevastova

Defending champion Stephens knocked out of US Open last eight by Sevastova

She finished the match with 13 aces and will take on Anastasija Sevastova for a place in the final after the 19th-seeded Latvian toppled defending champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-3. Just simple: "Make them play an extra ball and see what happens".

Stephens was an 83rd-ranked outsider when she roared to the title previous year, cementing her return from an 11-month injury absence.

Stephens struggled with her movement, was repeatedly being caught out by Sevastova's drop shot and after a number of wayward errors was bent double on the court.

There was some start and stop to the first set Sunday night with Stephens going up a break in the fourth game, giving it right back in the fifth, then getting it back in the eighth and holding for 6-3.

Recalling that 2017 victory, decided by a third-set tiebreaker, Stephens said: "I had to dig really deep". You've got to play.

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It was too much of the match played in the shadows of an afternoon on court which reaked havoc on the two players.

In stiflingly hot conditions, the American went down 6-2 6-3 to Sevastova, who is through to her first grand slam semi-final.

She earned the last of five breaks in the second set to take a 5-3 lead and served it out on her third match point when a tired Stephens put a backhand into the net.

But even though her first Grand Slam title defence did not work out as she envisioned, the experience will be invaluable to Stephens, who hopes to put in a strong finish to the season.

In the first set Sevastova won all the key drawings - the Latvian has implemented 2 out of 2 break points and his serve played 7 Stevens attempts to take the game at the reception.

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"Obviously from three there's only two more spots to go", she said before the Open. "Maybe the top 100".

"I think she played a really good match". It's back to the drawing board for the number 3 player and onto the next tournament be it in Chicago, Quebec City, onto the Asian Swing, the WTA Finals or others.

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.

"It was an awesome journey, this three, four years".

"You think, 'Oh, but in the end it's unbelievable, yeah?' You can't believe, yeah". If you were defending, you'd be playing the same exact people all over again, which I didn't.

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"Either way, against Serena or Karolina, it's going to be a tough match".

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