Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Sloan Stephens of the USA reacts after defeating Madison Keys of the USA (not pictured) on day one of many 2021 U.S. Open tennis event at USTA Billie King Nationwide Tennis Middle. Necessary Credit score: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports activities
August 31, 2021
By Amy Tennery
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Former champion Sloane Stephens overcame finest pal Madison Keys’s aggressive play to safe a 6-3 1-6 7-6(7) win within the first spherical of the U.S. Open on Monday.
The 2017 winner shortly took management of the primary set on Arthur Ashe Stadium, placing up a powerful defensive efficiency to fend off three break factors as Keys dedicated 15 unforced errors.
However Keys roared again within the second, profitable all of her first-serve factors and firing off 11 winners in comparison with simply three from Stephens, who struggled to seek out her energy.
After buying and selling breaks within the third set, they headed right into a tiebreak, the place Keys’s unforced errors proved to be her undoing. After keeping off two match factors, she shouted in frustration as she whacked the ball into the web to arrange a 3rd.
It was the primary time the pair had met on Ashe since Stephens defeated Keys within the closing 4 years in the past for her first – and to this point solely – main title.
“We’re each trying to get again that kind we had in 2017. Maddy is my finest pal on tour and it’s all the time tough for us however we’re all the time in a position to separate the match and are available out and compete,” stated Stephens.
“I believed as we speak we performed a extremely strong match.”
Stephens stated she was thrilled to compete in entrance of a packed New York crowd – together with her mom – a 12 months after she performed to empty stands because of the pandemic.
“Being an American enjoying on the U.S. Open is unimaginable,” stated Stephens. “I believe this ambiance, out of all of the slams, is fairly unmatched. I believe that is like the height of the height.”
Stephens faces fellow American Coco Gauff within the second spherical of the U.S. Open.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, further reporting by Rory Carroll, enhancing by Clare Fallon and Stephen Coates)