US Open 2018: Day 9 most dramatic yet, Sloane out, Rafa beats Thiem in five set thriller

Okay Day 8, I see your drama and raise you a helluva lot more.

Sloane sapped by stylish Sevastova

A huge shock this, merely because defending champion Stephens looked on fire again all fortnight. Sevastova though is no pushover and rightly ensconced amongst the world’s elite.

The American was bamboozled by a gamut of perfectly executed drop shots that allowed her no rhythm and ultimately no confidence in her game on the few occasions she found herself flirting with a comeback.

DelPo survives Isner test

Another good match with quality throughout, American no.1 Isner providing a nice mix-up of styles with that crisp netplay eventually rewarded with the first set. But Juan-Martin doomed turned the screw and reeled in his big hitting opponent with his signature devastating forehand to prevail in four.

Serena avenges Pliskova

Karolina Pliskova, the last woman to beat Serena here and – not that this matters – but consistently the smartest dressed at a slam, had this match on her racquet, but left the door ever so slightly open.

Against this 23 slam legend, that is a fatal error. Serena had no answer after the early exchanges but once she settled in and Karolina tightened, the momentum swung too far in her favour to ever look back.

Nadal pulls through epic effort from Thiem

What a match this looked to be (I was obviously asleep during most of it, waking up to see it still going on and catching the final set breaker).

The unimaginable opening in that bagel for Thiem before Rafa – as he so often does – proved his quality and fought back hard. Come the fourth set and with Thiem staying consistent and the errors creeping back into the defending champs game it came to a decider, itself going the distance, so closely matched were the two throughout.

Thiem gave us hope tonight of a genuine talent for the future who can play with flair and not just pummel with force.

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