In doubles action, Rohan Bopanna's campaign ended as he and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin lost the quarter-final match 3-6, 4-6 to Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Sevastova now has broken her opponents' serve 28 times in her five matches at the US Open. I wish I could've done a little better out there.
The 28-year-old avenged last year's quarter-final loss to Stephens in NY, converting five of her eight break point chances. That was the first set dropped by del Potro in the tournament.
Thiem laughed off Nadal's consolation efforts. "Me, too. I fought until the end. I can win it maybe next week again". He's a great guy.
Nadal's performance came 24 hours after another of the game's legends took center stage under the lights on Ashe.
Federer, the five-time champion and looking to end his 10-year wait to add to his total in NY, was beaten by Australia's world No. 55 John Millman 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-3).
Isner, who is having the best season of his career, was looking to reach his second consecutive slam semi-final and in doing so become the first American semi-finalist in the men's singles here since Andy Roddick in 2006.
Isner, meanwhile, will return to Dallas as quickly as he can where his wife is due to give birth to their first child in two weeks' time.
"And obviously defending a title is very hard, very difficult". Since mid-May, Nadal is 27-1 and only seems to be getting stronger. "I just kept fighting".
"When you don't play big points well, the match can get away from you", Stephens said.
"He's a fantastic player", Nadal said of the Austrian.
Stephens returned to NY with a spring in her step amid hopes of becoming the first woman to retain a Grand Slam title since Serena Williams triumphed at Wimbledon in 2015 and 2016. He's very powerful player, and, yeah, he knows how to play these kind of matches. Thiem has never won a major tournament.
For now, that baton handoff will have to wait.
In the end, as Thiem served to stay in the match, he served to send Nadal reaching out on the left.