Venus Williams received a major boost in the US Open following the fourth round exits of Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza on Sunday (3 September).
Although Sharapova is still rusty from limited game time following her return from a 15-month doping suspension, the Russian was always a dark horse for the tournament, having upset world number two Simona Halep in the first round.
However, the 30-year-old suffered defeat at the hands of Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova who came from a set behind to beat her 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Having committed 51 errors in the contest, Sharapova was thankful to have got the experience of a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2016 Australian Open.
"It's been a really great ride in the last week," the 146-ranked Sharapova said after the match. "I can take a lot from this week."
"It's great to get that major out of the way. It was an incredible opportunity. I'm very thankful for the opportunity. I did my best. I can be proud of that."
Meanwhile, Wimbledon winner Muguruza was unable to take a step closer to potentially winning a second Grand Slam in a row as she lost to Petra Kvitova, who won in straight sets, 7-6, 6-3.
Kvitova, who suffered a shocking knife attack last year, added to her list of Grand Slam upsets with her number-three ranked Spanish opponent arguably being the pre-tournament favourite.
"I tried to work really hard to play here again. It means a lot, it's an incredible night to play in front of a great crowd," Kvitova said after the win. "I don't think I can find the right words, it was a difficult time, all five months (away) were very tough."
"It was a tough journey that I didn't know how would end. Everything after what happened is something new and I really appreciate every experience that I have right now in life. Every moment I am living now is something really special."
The Czech player will face world number nine Williams in the quarter-final next. She defeated Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to reach this stage.
While Kvitova, ranked 14 in the world, is now the betting favourite in Flushing Meadows, Williams will be fancying her chances of an eighth major title in her career, already boasting a Grand Slam record of 19-3 in 2017 as well as the experience of her 20-year career.
With all the absentees and exits, there is also guaranteed to be a new Grand Slam winner from the women's singles in the current calendar year.