Stephens looks to Asia after US Open ouster

Sloane Stephens

The 28-year-old was appearing in her third Grand Slam quarter-final - the previous two also coming at the US Open in 2016 and 2017 - and admitted she was not expecting to hit such heights on her return to the sport.

Serena Williams wins in straight sets against Karolína Plíšková in the US Open quarterfinals. "It was too hot to play tennis", he joked.

"I could have shit the bed (lost) in the first round, and that would have been really bad", Stephens, who is projected to drop five spots to eighth in the world rankings, told reporters.

"Look, I'm not playing the best tennis this year, but somehow on the Grand Slam, I was just able to find my mentality was working", she said.

All in all, it's a decent finish for Stephens, who had her ups and downs this season.

The last time was in 2009 when he reached the semi-finals of Roland-Garros and then won the US Open.

"When the shade was there it was so hot here and incredible there", Sevastova said of the contrast of playing on the shady or sunny end of the court.

That both players didn't completely collapse from the extreme heat is a triumph in itself - play at the junior level was suspended due to the conditions, but the adult circuit has a higher heat threshold to suspend play.

"But in the end it's wonderful, yes? So after I stop at some point I will look at it and I will be proud of myself, for sure".

'Well, considering past year after this tournament I sh*t the bed for like 10 tournaments in a row, I definitely don't have any points to defend.' she added.

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Stephens had beaten Sevastova in last year's quarters, digging out a three-set victory after being down 3-1 in the third. It was arguably the closest she came to defeat in her remarkable run, but this time she could not extricate herself from her predicament.

But when she fell behind 0-40 in the seventh game she rescued herself with 112 miles per hour (180 km/h) service victor followed by another service victor and an ace.

Stephens saved two match points but not a third and later revealed she has been suffering from a sinus infection for two days.

"I think it was very physical today and tough to play", Sevastova said.

After Cilic evened the match by taking the fourth following a 10-minute break for heat, Nishikori was on the verge with running away with the fifth, holding a break point for a 5-1 lead.

"I hope that I can go to Asia and win some more matches and hopefully make the year end and hopefully keep going as far as I can".

On paper, Thiem seemed to be the better player.

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

"And obviously defending a title is very hard, very difficult".

"Never, never, never. I'm the type of person, if the ball goes over my head, I'm like, 'Whatever, ' in practice".

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