Sloane Stephens denies cheering when Williams lost

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He admits that sometimes it takes too much time. The allotted time limit between points is 20 seconds at Grand Slam tournaments, and 25 seconds on the ATP Tour.

But the No. 1-ranked player was shocked and angered to get a time violation at a crucial point in his fourth-round match against Japan’s Kei Nishikori

It was 4-4, deuce in the third set and after the violation from chair umpire Evanthia Asderaki, Nadal lost his serve to give Nishikori the break and allow him to serve for the set.

Nadal regained composure and came back to win the match in three tough sets, 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-6 (3), earning a spot in the quarterfinals.

After the match, Nadal was diplomatic about the time call.

“Sometimes I am too slow, and I accept that,” Nadal said. “The negative thing in my opinion is not the warning. The negative thing is the moment, 4-all, deuce. You can choose another moment to do it, not that one.”

“I respect the decision of the referee, even if I am not happy about it,” Nadal said “I am going to try to go quicker for the future.”

Nadal faces No. 22 Grigor Dimitrov in the quarterfinals and could play either No. 4. Andy Murray or No. 6 Roger Federer in the semifinals.

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NO COACH: At a tournament marked by old stars-turned-celebrity coaches, Simona Halep stands out as a player without a coach.

The 22-year-old Romanian advanced to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal after beating No. 8 Jelena Jankovic, 6-4, 2-6, 6-0.

Asked whom she discussed her pre-game strategy with, the No. 11-seeded player, replied, “Nobody.”

“For the moment I don’t have coach,” said Halep, who climbed 36 spots in the rankings last year after winning her first six career titles.

The only player to have done better in 2013 was No. 1-ranked Serena Williams, who won 11 titles last year.

Several players have started the new season with new coaches, including Roger Federer who has hired Stefan Edberg, while Novak Djokovic is working with Boris Becker. Japan’s Kei Nishikori has teamed up with Michael Chang.

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