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Latvian Sevastova stuns defending champ Stephens in US Open quarters

07 September, 2018, 04:48 | Author: Lora Ball
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The world No 1 recovered from a first-set bagel to defeat Thiem and reach the US Open semi-finals following another late-night classic in NY.

Six-time champion Serena Williams shook off a sluggish start to power past eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3 on Tuesday and into the US Open semi-finals.

Next up for the 28-year-old is the victor of the evening match between six-time champion Serena Williams and Czech eighth seed Karolina Pliskova.

"I think she played a really good match".

Sevastova said: "It was very physical today, it was tough to play, it's so hot". Stephens clawed back to 4-3 and had chances to level up but Sevastova's drop shots caught her off guard time and again and a particularly devilish one presented her with the chance to serve for the match.

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"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. And it'll make Friday's semifinal that much sweeter. Until the fifth-set tiebreaker, the first contested so far this tournament, it was truly any man's game to win.

Stephens was ranked 83rd in the world when she upset Sevastova in three sets in the quarter-finals previous year, trailing by a break in the third set before winning it in a tiebreaker.

Despite failing in her bid to become the first woman to retain a grand slam title since Williams triumphed at Wimbledon in 2015 and 2016, Stephens was still happy with her performance at Flushing Meadows. It's not every day you play semi-finals of a grand slam. But Sevastova held her concentration and her serve before racing to break in the next.

The No. 21 seed continued his strong season after returning from a wrist injury that forced him to miss the U.S. Open a year ago and will play either No. 6 seed Novak Djokovic or unseeded John Millman on Friday.

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

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Sevastova, the No. 19 seed, played an unbelievable match to leave Williams and Madison Keys as the only two American women remaining.

He served better, delivered more aces (18-3), committed few double faults (4-4), hit more outright winners (74-55), piled more total match points (171-165) and won more games (28-26).

The Latvian had no apparent power or pace, but she had the touch and variety to smother Stephens' game.

"Forever I'm going to remember this match, for sure", Thiem said.

"Defending a title isn't defending". "Defending a title isn't defending", she said. "I was struggling also a little bit". Now that this tournament is over, my focus is just getting back home and being with her. ...

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