Stephens cruises past Mertens and into U.S. Open quarters

Karolina Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova

Defending women's champion Sloane Stephens became the latest big name to be knocked out of the US Open after a straight sets defeat to Anastasija Sevastova. Just simple: "Make them play an extra ball and see what happens". At 4-2 with the Latvian leading, Stephens slammed a cross court shot to her opponent that she wasn't able to return, winning the point.

"Thiem is more of a specialist on clay, and so am I, so it [playing him on hard court] is not something favorable for me", the US Open defending champion told Spanish press on Sunday following his four-set win over Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Just as she isn't looking back, Sevastova said she wouldn't look too far ahead - to the chance that she could finish the week a Grand Slam champion.

The match on a sweltering Tuesday afternoon was a rematch.

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

Sevastova came into the match having broken her opponent's serve a tournament-leading 23 times. She tried to take that momentum into game eight, but missed several opportunities to tie Sevastova - including a heartbreaker after a 14-shot volley that saw Stephens hit it into the net.

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Asked what positives she would take from her performances, the 25-year-old said: "That I could have s*** the bed in the first round, and that would have been really bad".

"It's tough to make points against her, but I had to be aggressive". "Maybe the top 100". It looked good when she broke Mertens to start the second, and wouldn't you know it, she gave it right back in the second. "She's feeling it, Sloane, so much tougher on that end", was the phrases commentators used when describing the quarterfinal match between Sloane Stephens and Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"You think, 'Oh, but in the end it's incredible, yeah?' You can't believe, yeah".

"But now, obviously when you win more you have higher goals. So after I stop at some point I will look at it and I will be proud of myself, for sure".

Throughout the match Stephens complained about the heat and there were some questions as to whether or not the players should have stayed on. A year ago he lost a very tough match against Del Potro here.

"There is still semi-finals", she said.

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