US Open semi-finalist Sevastova stays in the moment

Reigning champion Stephens too strong for Mertens in New York

Elise Mertens was unable to hit top form against Sloane Stephens and the defending champion won through in straight

"Enjoy the game." she said.

However the intense heat that has plagued this year's tournament continued on Arthur Ashe on Tuesday and Stephens suffered. Nadal lost the first set 6-0, winning a meagre seven points. If you were defending, you'd be playing the same exact people all over again, which I didn't. Quarter-finals of a Grand Slam is always really tough. And it'll make Friday's semifinal that much sweeter. She recovered from foot surgery that forced her to miss most of the season and from a ranking that had fallen to almost 1,000 to win her first Grand Slam all inside a year. Stephens went just 1 of 9 on her second serves, canceling out an outstanding 81 percent first serve percentage. Her season was building up towards the last Slam of the season.

The defeats of Stephens and Pliskova completed the exodus of top 10 seeds, although Pliskova noted that Williams' 17th seeding - nine spots above her world ranking as she continues her post-baby comeback - was not reflective of her true abilities.

The 20-year-old said she was nervous, claiming to be "freaking out inside" - though it certainly never showed. Rather than letting Stephens get into her rallying, counter-punching rhythm, she constantly changed the pace and spin on the ball. And it was the way Nadal won - with power and tireless energy, matching his younger opponent's athleticism and appearing to grow stronger with each monstrous forehand - that told the story of how the two best players in the world have fared in recent months. The petite Latvian was seen constantly frowning and mumbling to her box.

Defending US Open champion Sloane Stephens has been dumped out in the quarter-finals after losing 6-2, 6-3 to Latvian 19th seed Anastasija Sevastova in sweltering conditions in NY.

Sevastova herself relies on variety more than power, and she caught a slow-moving Stephens with a number of drop shots and drop-shot lob combinations. Stephens clawed back to 4-3 and had chances to level up but Sevastova's drop shots caught her off guard time and again and a particularly devilish one presented her with the chance to serve for the match.

"I hope I will enjoy it, playing semi-finals".

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"When these things happen, normally I am not the guy that looks at the string or looks at the box or looks at the racket", said Nadal.

"When you don't play big points well, the match can get away from you", Stephens said.

It was Stephens' less-heralded Latvian opponent who has been taking her opportunities in NY.

Though Stephens landed 40 of 49 first serves (82 percent), she won just one of her second-serve points in the one-hour, 23-minute elite-eight matchup.

The All England Club's main tennis committee will gather and, according to influential figures there, the most likely outcome is introducing a 12-12 cut-off.

She had prematurely retired from the game in 2013 owing to recurring back and muscle injuries.

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