Belgian world No.110 Greet Minnen seemed to be on a way to demolish Sloane Stephens in the first round of the 2022 US Open, but the 2017 champion fought back from 6-1 2-0 down to clinch a 1-6 6-3 6-3 victory.
Making 11th Grand Slam main draw appearance and sixth as a direct entry, Minnen was quickly preparing a bagel for Stephens in the first set. The American managed to avoid this scenario by finally managing to hold serve while trailing 5-0, but that was it.
Minnen, who currently occupies a career-high No.47 ranking in doubles, continued to dominate the major champion in the second set, as she raced to a 2-0 lead. Then Stephens finally started getting into the match, mostly capitalizing on Minnen’s errors. In the fourth game, Stephens converted her eighth break point in the match when Minnen sent a crosscourt forehand out and the American consolidated the break with a hold to lead for the first time in the match, 3-2. That was the beginning of Stephens’ revival.
As Minnen lost her rhythm, confidence, and stroke power, Stephens won seven consecutive games from 3-3 in the second set, eventually avoiding an early elimination with a win in two hours and nine minutes.
Stephens’ opponent in the second round will be top seed Iga Swiatek, who eased past Jasmine Paolini earlier on Tuesday.
Sloane will be a problem for Iga.