Tennis

Sloane Stephens sets up mouthwatering second-round clash with world No. 1 Iga Swiatek after scare

Sloane Stephens sets up a mouthwatering second-round clash with world No. 1 Iga Swiatek at the US Open after surviving a three-set scare against Greet Minnen

  • Sloane Stephens escaped a first-round fright, beating Greet Minnen in three sets
  • Stephens dropped the first set, and trailed 5-0 before losing the opener 6-1
  • From there she rallied, winning the final two sets to progress 1-6, 6-3, 6-3
  • The American now faces Poland’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the second round

American Sloane Stephens has progressed to the second round of the US Open following a shaky start against Belgian Greet Minnen. 

Stephens stunningly lost the first set 6-1, trailing 5-0 at one moment, outraging fans on social media before staging a fightback befitting of her quality.

The 29-year-old rallied in what proved a decisive second set, the American won seven games consecutively with the match on a knife’s edge at 3-3, already one set down. 

Despite a spirited resistance from Minnen, Stephens triumphed 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Her reward for the three-set win is a matchup with Polish world No. 1 Iga Swiatek.

Sloane Stephens survived an early scare at her hometown slam before winning in three sets

Sloane Stephens survived an early scare at her hometown slam before winning in three sets

Notwithstanding her opponent’s ranking, Stephens should be filled with confidence on the hardcourts after winning the Open back in 2017.

Swiatek crushed Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 6-3 6-0 earlier Tuesday to set up the highly-anticipated second-round showdown with Stephens.

Appearing in New York for the first time as the world’s top ranked player, Swiatek looked the part, breaking Paolini’s serve seven times and reeling off the last seven games to advance.

The Polish top seed is the favorite to win the year’s final Grand Slam after she dominated the French Open in June and went on a 37-match winning streak that was snapped in the third round of Wimbledon.

Stephens won the US Open back in 2017, defeating fellow American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0

Stephens won the US Open back in 2017, defeating fellow American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0

Just two weeks ago, Swiatek defeated Stephens in straight sets, 6-4, 7-5 at the Cincinnati Masters. 

‘I’m pretty happy with the performance, and I feel like I have better rhythm than in Toronto and Cincinnati so that’s great,’ Swiatek told reporters.

‘I’m trying to enjoy that. In the first set I played pretty solid, but I needed to take it up to another level. I did that at the end and in second set, so I’m pretty proud of that.’

Swiatek and Stephens faced off for the first time in Cincinnati where the Pole was victorious

Swiatek and Stephens faced off for the first time in Cincinnati where the Pole was victorious


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