Sevastova dethrones Stephens, first into US Open semifinals

Opening quarterfinal action at the 2018 US Open, Latvian Anastasija Sevastova reached her first Grand Slam semis by stunning defending champion Sloane Stephens, avenging her last year’s loss to the American that happened in the same round of the tournament.

With the extreme heat policy again in place, the third-seeded Stephens didn’t put up a fight in the first set, failing to convert any of her seven break points, while Sevastova’s stats in that department were perfect 2/2. In the second set, Stephens quickly fell 4-1 behind and even though she hinted a comeback by getting the match back on serve at 4-3, the 19th seed broke her once again and held her serve in the following game for a 6-2 6-3 triumph.

Commenting on the match, Stephens blamed her lost opportunities, primarily her 2/9 break point conversion:

When you don’t play big points well, the match can get away from you. I think that’s what happened today. I didn’t convert. I didn’t play the big points well, and you don’t win matches when you don’t take your opportunities.

Drop shots were one of Sevastova’s winning strategies in Tuesday’s quarterfinal and she plans to employ them in her upcoming encounter with the winner of the quarterfinal between Serena Williams and Karolina Pliskova.

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