Defending champion Sloane is eliminated by Anastasija

Stephens

Considering everything the Argentine star had gone through to get back to playing the best tennis of his life - much less Tuesday's 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2 U.S. Open fourth-round comeback - it must've seemed like "The Shawshank Redemption".

Sevastova, the No. 19 seed from Latvia, will play Serena Williams, a 6-4, 6-3 victor over No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova, in her first Grand Slam semifinal.

"I think she played a really good match. It was too hot to play tennis", he joked.

Stephens, who said she had been dealing with a sinus infection, rued all of her wasted opportunities against Sevastova, most notably the seven break points she failed to convert in the first set. The shot that earned her the decisive break with Stephens serving at 3-4 in the second set was a sidespin backhand slice that landed in the midcourt - the last place anyone, including Stephens, expected to see a ball.

"I just wanted to play better", Williams said of her mindset as she trailed 3-1 in the first.

Thiem and Nadal battled in the 90-degree heat and 50-percent humidity for four hours and 49 minutes and in the end, Thiem had won 166 points while Nadal had 171, but Nadal won the most important point - the last one.

Instead, it resembled their 2010 second-round match in Flushing Meadows, when Nishikori rallied to win in five sets in 4:59, the fifth-longest men's singles match by time in U.S. Open history.

Defending champion Sloane Stephens during her quarter-final match against Anastasija Sevastova on Tuesday.

Even as Stephens fought for her competitive life at Arthur Ashe Stadium, tournament officials were in the process of suspending play among juniors on the National Tennis Center's outside courts. Right now you're in the tournament, you're playing next tournament next week, and you don't feel it.

Stephens had used some obscene words out of desperaiton for not being able to execute her shots with pinpoint precision like in the other three rounds to win the match.

She has had her best results in her second career, particularly in NY, where she has now reached the quarter-finals twice and the semi-finals once in the last three years. For his part, Federer has not played poorly; he made it to the final in Cincinnati just before the start here in NY but was overwhelmed by a surging Novak Djokovic. With temperatures hovering in the low 90s, Sevastova jumped out to an early lead in her match with the third-seeded Stephens, and never relented.

Isner, meanwhile, will return to Dallas as quickly as he can where his wife is due to give birth to their first child in two weeks' time.

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

"Defending a title isn't defending. It's been a few, couple, rough semis for me", Williams said.

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