Sloane Stephens upset at U.S. Open before possible Serena Williams match
NEW YORK -- Sloane Stephens’ U.S. Open title defense ended in the quarterfinals, one match shy of a possible Serena Williams showdown.
Latvian Anastasija Sevastova upset the American 6-2, 6-3 on another steamy day inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Temperatures reached the low 90s. All but a few games were won by the player on the shady side of the net.
Stephens also dealt with a “bad” sinus infection since Monday.
“Nothing was wrong with me before the match,” Stephens said. “Obviously, the better player won. ... It was hot for both of us. She handled it better.”
The 18th-ranked Sevastova, not No. 3 Stephens, will face the winner of Tuesday night’s match between Williams and former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the final.
Williams is now the only woman left in the draw with a Grand Slam singles title -- 23 of them, one shy of Margaret Court‘s record.
Stephens ended an up-and-down year in Grand Slams that included a French Open final loss to Simona Halep and first-round defeats at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Stephens made a remarkable run to her first Grand Slam final at the 2017 U.S. Open. She had missed 10 months due to a foot injury, unable to walk for four months after January 2017 surgery, and was ranked No. 957 less than a month before the tournament.
Her run included a three-set quarterfinal win over Sevastova, followed by ousting Venus Williams and Madison Keys to become the first U.S. woman other than the Williams sisters to win a Grand Slam singles title in nearly 16 years.
Stephens followed that by losing eight straight matches between September and January.
“I s--- the bed for, like, 10 tournaments in a row,” she said. “I could have s--- the bed in the first round [here], and that would have been really bad. So the fact that I made it to the quarterfinals and played some really good matches and I just competed as hard as I could, I mean, a lot to be proud of.”
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