Smiling Sevastova prepared for bombardment in maiden slam semi

2017 champ Stephens sets up US Open QF rematch

Even though Stephens put up some resistance in the second set, clawing back from 2-1 and 4-1 down, she couldn't quite shake Sevastova off. When you're playing a whole new draw, different seedings, different ranking, there's so much that goes into it.

Sevastova looked rocky in the first set, but took advantage of uncharacteristically slow play from Stephens and won the first set 6-2. "That's the most important thing to me".

Anastasija Sevastova greets Sloane Stephens after quarter-final win in 2018 US Open.

Williams fell behind again in the seventh game, but erased a 0-40 deficit with a 112 miles per hour (180 Km/h) service victor followed by a another service victor and an ace. 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.

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. She made three errors with and Stephens belted a forehand victor for the break and a 4-3 lead.

Defending champion Sloane Stephens has been knocked out of the U.S. Open in straight sets. The momentum didn't quite carry over.

The Australian meets Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals while Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem to set up a semi-final showdown with Juan Martin del Potro. Today, I served well at certain moments, so I think I'm on the right track. "I had to dig a little bit deeper to win a point", Mertens said. Pliskova defeated Williams in the semifinals in 2016 before losing to Angelique Kerber in the final.

"But now, obviously when you win more, you have higher goals", she said. "Since then, we didn't play".

"The last games, it was good that I played in the shade".

It hasn't been an outstanding season for Pliskova, who has one tournament victory, but a positive outlook carries her forward.

"Last year I was almost one point away from doing that too", said Nadal, referring to his close five-setter with Gilles Muller in the Wimbledon fourth round last season.

Certainly was. And that chase-down, tunaround, hook-shot of a passing victor just showed a glimpse of how the No. 3 can go from defense to offense with flair, as she did repeatedly during her 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 15 Elise Mertens of Belgium in the fourth round.

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