Sports

The offender Svitolina sensationally reached the semi-finals of the US Open

The offender Svitolina sensationally reached the semi-finals of the US Open

Every round was a round closer for Stephens to defend her U.S. Open title from a year ago, but the steaming heat of the New York City summer and the sizzling shots of Sevastova had gotten the best of the number three femal tennis player in the world.

Six-time champion Serena Williams shook off a sluggish start to power past eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4, 6-3 into the semi-finals.

"Just like my entire body was shaking, so I'm really glad I was able to play well today", she said. "The first set was so important", said the 19th-seeded Sevastova, who broke Stephens in the final game to pocket the opening set.

Sevastova, who retired from tennis in 2013 due to injuries before returning in 2015, withstood a fightback from her 25-year-old opponent late on in the match but sealed the win on her third match point when Stephens sent a backhand into the net.

Sevastova, ranked 18th in the world, said she did not have many goals when she returned to tennis. The heat doesn't make it any more fun.

Things could have gone differently for Stephens if she had converted any of the seven break points she had in the first set.

She was cruising through her quarter of the draw until a bad sinus infection, sweltering playing conditions and the tenacious Sevastova got the better of her in the last eight.

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.

Now comes a rematch: She'll face No. 19 Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, the same person she beat in last year's quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows. But now, obviously, when you win more, you have higher goals. But Sevastova held her concentration and her serve before racing to break in the next. "It's for semi-finals of US Open".

Meanwhile, two-time US Open champion Djokovic will be playing in his 11th consecutive semi-final in NY, just two months after defying the odds to lift a 13th major at Wimbledon. I know how he plays, he knows how I am playing. "Enjoy the game." she said.

Overall, Mertens won just 46 percent of her first serve points and faced nine break points, losing five of them.

"Forever I'm going to remember this match, for sure", Thiem said.

"It's just very hard to deal with".

Del Potro now has two days off before the semi-finals but will be keeping to himself, saying: "If I met them it could be risky for me". He's a great guy, a close friend who will have many more opportunities to win the big titles. I was struggling also a little bit, but I didn't show it that much. Now that this tournament is over, my focus is just getting back home and being with her. ...


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