It wasn't the first time Mother Nature intervened at the 2017 U.S. Open, limiting much of Sunday's early action to the matches under the roof inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Denis Shapovalov, the 18-year-old Canadian who has dazzled the New York City crowd, was set to get the action underway against Pablo Carreno Busta, while 2006 U.S. Open champion Maria Sharapova and Sloane Stephens took to the court as well in separate round-of-16 clashes.
Below is an overview of how Sunday afternoon unfolded.
(12) Pablo Carreno Busta def. Denis Shapovalov; 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3)
(29) Diego Schwartzman def. (16) Lucas Pouille; 7-6(3), 7-5, 2-6, 6-2
Sloane Stephens def. (30) Julia Goerges; 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
(16) Anastasija Sevastova def. Maria Sharapova; 5-7, 6-4, 6-2
(9) Venus Williams def. Carla Suarez Navarro; 6-3, 3-6, 6-1
Day 7 Recap
No player's stock has risen more than Shapovalov's over the course of the U.S. Open, but his inexperience may have cost him against Carreno Busta, as the 25-year-old won three tiebreakers to advance to the quarterfinals.
Time and again, Shapovalov was unable to put Carreno Busta away. He had a 5-2 lead as well as three set points in the first set before dropping it 2-7 in the tiebreak. He then jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set before Carreno Busta reeled off three straight games of his own to tie the set and eventually clinch the match.
The reliance on his volley game also may have been counterproductive for Shapovalov. He won just 61 percent of his points at the net and committed five unforced errors on attempted volleys. Carreno Busta, on the other hand, had a 73 percent conversion rate at the net, and two of his 25 winners were passing shots.
While Carreno Busta only had one ace throughout the entire match, he sealed the victory with an inch-perfect serve to Shapovalov's forehand, courtesy of the U.S. Open's official Twitter account:
US Open Tennis @usopen
A 🦁 roar from @pablocarreno91 as he books his place in the 2017 US Open QFs #usopen @MBUSA https://t.co/qQi0MwRKWM2017-9-3 18:22:26
"I think Pablo played a very great match. He stayed very tough mentally in the big points," Shapovalov said, per the ATP World Tour's official site. "He just played three tiebreaks that were better than mine. I was up in the first, up in the third. I definitely had my chances. Very disappointed that I wasn't able to keep my leads."
Tennis writer Tumaini Carayol noted all was not lost for Shapovalov in the tournament:
Tumaini Carayol @tumcarayol
Shapovalov started the hard swing at #161. He leaves it ranked ~#51 with a M1000 SF, a slam R4 and a 19-3 record. Incredible breakthrough.2017-9-3 18:27:16
Carreno Busta, meanwhile, benefits from the general upheaval in the bottom half of the U.S. Open bracket. He's the highest seed remaining in that half of the men's singles draw, with 29th-seeded Diego Schwartzman and 17th-seeded Sam Querrey potentially all that's standing between him and a berth in the final.
What had been a back-and-forth match through the first two sets turned into a rout in the third as Stephens dominated the decisive set en route to a three-set win over Julia Goerges.
The New York Times' Ben Rothenberg tweeted the result puts Stephens in elite company:
Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg
Sloane Stephens continues her surge with 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over #30 Görges. Joins Williamses as only active US women to reach a #USOpen QF.2017-9-3 20:53:57
Goerges was overmatched in the third set. She committed 13 unforced errors and won six points on serve over the seven games.
While Stephens only had two winners—the same number she had when dropping the second set—she didn't need to do much from the baseline, considering 19 of her 20 first serves landed in. That helped her get Goerges on the back foot, where she could more easily dictate the tempo of a point.
Despite being unranked, Stephens has a great chance of reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal since the 2013 Australian Open. After losing to Simona Halep in the first round of the Citi Open, she reached the semifinals of the Rogers Cup and Western & Southern Open—a run that included wins over Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova. She defeated 11th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the second round of the U.S. Open as well.
Stephens will meet Anastasija Sevastova in the quarterfinals after the 27-year-old Latvian defeated Sharapova in three sets.
Sharapova got off to a slow start in the second round against Timea Babos before settling down and winning in three sets. Sunday was the exact opposite in that Sharapova took the first set against Sevastova before slowly wearing down over the remainder of the match.
She committed 51 unforced errors and five double faults, and the third set was particularly disastrous for the 30-year-old Russian. She won 40 percent and 27 percent of her first- and second-service points, respectively, and had four winners to 18 unforced errors.