Writing on usopen.orgArthur Kapetanakis recaps Day 9: On the first of two days of singles quarter-final play, four former US Open champions entered Arthur Ashe Stadium, and three walked out with their 2018 title hopes intact.
Defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal drew the closing curtains on Day 9 at 2:04 a.m., with a show-stopping five-set win against Dominic Thiem.
The Spaniard narrowly avoided the fate of Sloane Stephens, the women’s defending champ, who fell more than 12 hours earlier in the day’s opening match.
In between, Serena Williams and Juan Martin del Potro punched their semi-final tickets despite a pair of slow starts.
Williams is now the only remaining Grand Slam winner in the women’s field after Stephens’ exit, while 2009 champ del Potro can look forward to a 2017 semi-final rematch against Nadal.
Champions or challengers, all of the remaining players will get their day, or night, in Ashe; beginning with the four matches played Tuesday, all singles matches for the remainder of the tournament will feature on the main stage of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Rafael Nadal edges Dominic Thiem in grand finale: The pair’s 11th career meeting lived up to its billing as the Day 9 grand finale with a match that was fit for a Grand Slam quarter-final.
After 4 hours and 49 minutes, Nadal won a fifth-set tiebreak to return to the US Open semi-finals for the seventh time in his storied career.
The longest match of the 2018 US Open ended, 0-6 6-4 7-5 6-7(4) 7-6(5).
Fortunately for Nadal, who has now played the two longest matches of the tournament (along with his four-hour, 23-minute third-rounder against Karen Khachanov), the men’s quarter-finals will not be played until Friday.
Serena Williams stays hot in Karolina Pliskova rematch: In her 100th match in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Williams used a run of eight games, four to end set one and four to take charge of set two, to fuel a 6-4 6-3 victory over Pliskova.
After a sluggish start, Williams ended the match with 13 aces and 35 winners as she exacted revenge from her 2016 semi-final loss to the Czech.
Though she was the lower seed this time, No 17 to Pliskova’s No 8, Williams entered the match as the favourite and was able to maintain the high level of tennis that saw her defeat sister Venus and Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi to reach the quarter-final round.
There were 6 breaks of serve in the matchup of two of the WTA’s best servers, and Williams’ efficiency on break points was one of the keys to the match.
The six-time US Open champ converted on 4 of 7 opportunities, while saving 10 of the 12 break points she faced.
Sloane Stephens’ title defence ends against Anastasija Sevastova: In a rematch of their 2017 US Open quarterfinal, Sevastova’s variety flummoxed Stephens as the Florida resident struggled in the heat against a flurry of well-timed drop shots.
The Latvian kept her off balance with a clever combination of power and finesse in a 6-2 6-3 victory in the Ashe opener.
Juan Martin del Potro stands tall against John Isner: In a battle of big servers, del Potro was never broken in a 6-7(5) 6-3, 7-6(4) 6-2 win.
In sweltering conditions, the physical and mental repercussions of losing the crucial third-set tiebreak proved too much for Isner to overcome, even after the 10-minute heat break that preceded set four.
Both men returned with weary legs, but with the end in sight, del Potro broke twice in one final burst through the finish line.
Quote of the Day: “I took a shower, and then I re-taped my ankles, and then I laid down on the table, and then I don’t want to come back [out to court] again because the heat was impossible to play tennis in. But with this crowd, with these people, of course it’s too much energy, and I’m here.” — Del Potro on how he spent his time off court during the heat break.
Doubles Wrap: CoCo Vandeweghe and Ashleigh Barty advanced to the US Open semi-finals, while Americans Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren fell.
Junior Wrap: Top seeds Chun Hsin Tseng of Chinese Taipei and Cori Gauff of the US advanced to the third round of the boys’ and girls’ singles events.
Day 10 Preview: Four intriguing quarterfinal matchups headline Wednesday’s play at the 2018 US Open, as a mix of famous names and a few less-so share the day’s magnificent marquee.
Kei Nishikori, Novak Djokovic and Madison Keys will headline the action.
BritWatch: Anton Matusevich & Adrian Andreev (BUL) d Alexander Lee (USA) & Niroop Vallabhaneni (USA), 7-6(3) 1-6 [10-5]; Aiden McHugh & Timofei Skatov (KAZ)  lost to Rinky Hijikata (AUS) & Govind Nanda (USA), 2-6 7-5 [10-7]
Brits in action on Day 10: Grandstand – Men’s Doubles QF / Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares (BRA) v Radu Albot (MDA) & Malik Jaziri (TUN); Mixed Doubles SF / Jamie Murray & Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) v Christian Harrison (USA) & Christina McHale (USA); Court 11 – Boys Doubles R2 / Anton Matusevich & Adrian Andreev (BUL) v Rinky Hijikata (AUS) & Govind Nanda (USA); Court 12 – Boys Singles R2 / Aidan McHugh v Jesper De Jong (NED); Court 13 – Girls Singles R2 / Emma Raducanu v Alexa Noel (USA) .
Prime Watch: Amazon Prime has been streaming game 7 match courts in addition to its US Open Live Show channel, available via smart TV, FireStick, computer and mobile device.
These are live television feeds from Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, Grandstand, and Courts 5, 10, 13 and 17.