Stephens proud despite failure to repeat U.S. Open triumph

SloaneStephens- Cropped

SloaneStephens- Cropped

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 today I just really couldn't get anything to connect", Stephens said. "The fact that I made it to the quarterfinals, played some really good matches, competed as hard as I could, I mean, a lot to be proud of".

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. I made the most of it this week or the last.

It has been a tumultuous eight days at the US Open, with stars as well as yeomen struggling through matches in 90-plus degree temperatures.

"I saw John a little bit exhausted also. The heat doesn't make it any more fun".

However the intense heat that has plagued this year's tournament continued on Arthur Ashe on Tuesday and Stephens suffered. When Stephens cracked a monstrous forehand victor to fend off a break point while serving at 0-1 in second set, it seemed to take an extra second for the spectators to process what they'd seen and muster a passable cheer. After being broken in the fourth game, Stephens sunk to her knees. It was hot for both of us.

"I was thinking, 'You know, I can play better.' So that was the good news", she said. "I played some good ones before, but not that long, not that long against the great guys on the Grand Slam stage".

"Mentally, physically, I just wasn't connecting, " Stephens said. Williams had won the previous four majors and her fifth in a row would have seen her equal Graf's historic accomplishment.

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. She broke to get back on serve at 3-4 in the second set, only to squander a 40-15 lead and allow a break after four deuces in the ensuing game.

The following year, Williams again lost in the semis, this time to Pliskova. "I said to Dominic I am sorry".

"I'm not going to dwell on it". But the challenge of playing him on hard of course is even higher for me personally than playing against him on clay.

Thiem admitted he was hoping the hard courts of Flushing Meadows would prove "more comfortable" but he'll still face an uphill battle against the 17-time Grand Slam champion whose stellar 2018 campaign also includes Masters titles in Monte Carlo, Rome and Toronto.

Many players have been driven to distraction by the small margins involved when playing Isner and one backhand that just drifted into the tramlines cost Del Potro the opening set - the first set he has lost all tournament.

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