"He's a fantastic player", Nadal said of the Austrian.
Each man blew chances to gain control and perhaps have a much quicker ending to a match that had wild swings of momentum.
Soon after that, Williams went from trailing, 4-2, to not only taking the first set but also leading, 4-0, in the second. Mertens lobbed Stephens deep into deuce court, but Stephens, in full sprint, ran it down and hit a magnificent cross-court forehand victor with the stunned Mertens racing to the net. "I played a solid match so I couldn't really ask for any more".
The 29-year-old is in his third semi-final at the US Open and sixth at the majors.
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Despite the illness, Stephens added: "I was excited to play, happy to get out there and compete".
Sevastova came into the match having broken her opponent's serve a tournament-leading 23 times.
The No. 20 seed moved from Japan to NY at age 3, and her deepest major run is coming at the same tournament she first visited as a child. Sevastova, forced out of the game by injuries in 2013 before launching a comeback almost two years later, showed some steely resolve, serving it out on her third match-point opportunity. "When I was a break down in the final set, I thought I would even break a leg if needed so I could get to every ball".
Serving for the match, the Latvian raced out to triple match point and although Stephens saved two of them, Sevastova sealed the win when the 25-year-old American pushed a backhand into the net.
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"I think that's what happened today", said Stephens, who said she has been suffering from a sinus infection. "She admitted that it just wasn't the day".
Stephens said that despite the manner of her defeat on Tuesday she was content with what she had achieved at this tournament.
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.
"The key is to play really fast and powerful", he said. "Normally he doesn't lose to nobody 6-0".
Williams took down her Czech opponent in two sets, winning 6-4, 6-3 in their quarterfinal meeting Tuesday - Williams' first win against a Top-10 ranked opponent in 2018.
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More than 3 million people live in the province, almost a third of whom were internally displaced there during the country's seven-year war.
Pliskova got another chance when Williams batted a forehand into the net, but another booming serve, a backhand victor and an unreturnable serve saw her negotiate the danger.
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