Nadal was shut out in the first set of his US Open quarterfinal before coming back to beat No. 9 seed Dominic Thiem 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) in 4 hours, 49 minutes Tuesday night.
"I think it was very physical today", Sevastova, who lost to Stephens during a US Open tune-up in Montreal last month, said during her on-court interview."It was tough to play".
"I weigh 238 pounds, so I have always said it's pretty hard to play in hot conditions, for me especially, because I weigh a lot and I sweat a lot".
Indeed Stephens fought back to narrow the gap to 4-3, but Sevastova grabbed another break with a well-timed drop shot for a 5-3 lead and sealed the victory on her third match point when a tired Sephens put a backhand into the net. It makes you try to do too much if you're practicing trick shots.
When someone urged her to raise her level in the second set, Stephens replied, "I'm trying!"
She returned almost two years later and finally broke through on her third straight appearance in the US Open quarterfinals. Thiem is a top-10 player himself (he's now ranked No. 9), a star in his own right who some consider to be the heir apparent to Nadal. "It was a tough battle and it will give me good confidence, even though I don't remember a lot of it", said the 28-year-old after getting revenge on Cilic in the quarter-finals.
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This is her first win against a top-10 player since returning from maternity leave.
Stephens looked like she might have gained a foothold when she broke back for 2-1 at the start of the second set, letting out a scream of defiance, only for Sevastova to win the next two games.
"Mentally, physically, I just wasn't connecting, " Stephens said. "I ran back and hit a forehand cross-court - and the crowd went insane", she said.
Del Potro saved the only two break points he faced in the entire match in the fourth game of the third set which he wrapped up in another tiebreak. I can be proud of a lot of things, so I'm not going to dwell on it. "I need to play my best match of the tournament if I want to keep having chances to stay in the tournament".
Pliskova is the last woman to beat Williams at the US Open, eliminating her in the semifinals two years ago.
Thiem chuckled when he was asked about Nadal's apology but added that now that he was out of the tournament, he would love to see Nadal defend his title. "It's been a few, couple, rough semis for me", Williams said.
Wimbledon will be the most adamant of the four in resisting moves to extend legal coaching during matches, but there is likely to be more agreement on ditching the idea of reducing the number of seeds from 32 to 16.