It was an unexpectedly short all-American US Open title match between Grand Slam finals debutantes, as unseeded Sloane Stephens needed 60 minutes sharp to eliminate seed No.15 Madison Keys 6-3 6-0.
The 24-year-old Stephens went through eight games without making an unforced error, finishing the first set with just two unforced errors and just four points lost on serve. Before you knew it the first set was over, but it turned out that the second set was just as short, with Stephens’ only hiccup coming in the fifth game, when she faced three break points, but saved them all. This championship match finished so quickly, that I barely got the feeling it even started.
Since computer rankings began in November 1975 only two players – the unranked Kim Clijsters in 2009 and No.26 Flavia Pennetta in 2015 – have won the US Open title ranked outside the Top 10. The world No.83 Stephens is now the third and the title will lift her to No.17 in the WTA rankings.
By defeating Roberta Vinci in the first round, seed No.11 Dominika Cibulkova in the second, Ashleigh Barty in the third, seed No.30 Julia Goerges in the fourth, seed No.16 Anastasija Sevastova in the quarterfinals, seed No.9 Venus Williams in the semis and finally Keys, Stephens has scored more wins this fortnight at the 2017 US Open (seven), than she had in her last six Grand Slam appearances combined (six).
What a story! Who would’ve thought that Stephens, who had been ranked as low as No. 957 when entering the 2017 US Open Series, would win her maiden Grand Slam title!
Gutted that Madison couldn’t do much after her first 3 service games which were really good. So proud of Sloane! What a comeback she’s made this year. I hope this will boost her confidence for next year’s slams.
*first 2 service games, my bad
also that hug they shared was so beautiful 🙂
Agreed. The hug and the chat were both so refreshing and pleasant to see. Sorry for Madison, but happy for Sloane (seems Maddie always get injured in a semi or a final). I wonder if Sloane even thought about thanking Serena Williams for not being able to compete this year. Everybody in their right mind knows that’s how she and the others made it as far as they did; it’s actually how her first major title came to fruition. Hopefully, she’ll not be a one “hit” wonder and become consistent in winning.
Sad for Maddie but thrilled for Sloan. She played flawlessly! May this be the next great tennis rivalry – these two handle it all with such love and grace.
Sloane’s story is really an inspiration. I saw her during her progress the last few months. She was really patient. At one point, she was hitting the balls while sitting in the chair. What a comeback!
The Sloane Ranger was cool like a veteran only committing 6 unforced errors, and was great in turning her spectacular defense to offense. Madison could not settle her nerves but I think she was hampered by an injured right quad that happened late in her semifinal match against Coco. But Kudos to both who came back from injuries during the first half of the year. I believe we will see these two compete in more Grand Slam finals in the future.