Sloane Stephens was beaten by Anastasija Sevastova, meaning she won't meet Serena Williams in the semis.
NEW YORK — Defending champion Sloane Stephens was eliminated Tuesday from the U.S. Open, beaten by Anastasija Sevastova 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
Stephens beat Sevastova in the same round last year en route to her first Grand Slam title, but she missed numerous chances to grab an early lead in the rematch and could never get back into the match.
''You don't win matches when you don't take your opportunities,'' Stephens said.
Sevastova, the No. 19 seed from Latvia, will play either Serena Williams or 2016 U.S. Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova in her first Grand Slam semifinal.
Three-quarters of Arthur Ashe Stadium was in the sun on another day of more than 90-degree temperatures in New York, and Stephens seemed to lack some of her usual sideline-to-sideline court coverage in the heat.
Stephens said she had been battling a cold, but her biggest problem Tuesday might have been her serve. The No. 3 seed was broken five times in the 84-minute match.
Stephens, one of the best defenders in the game, squandered all seven break-point chances in the first set, missing out a chance for early momentum during a lengthy third game of the match. She couldn't convert four chances to break in that game that lasted 18 points, and Sevastova then quickly broke her for a 3-1 lead.
Stephens then couldn't convert three more chances in the next game, and never got another in the first set.
Her frustration became apparent, whether she was gesturing to her coach, staring in annoyance at deep balls that bounced off the baseline, or just screaming out in general.
''I'm trying!'' she responded to a plea from the crowd to pick it up in the second set.