US Open Tennis: Stephens wins 2nd brutal match

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Friday, September 03, 2021, 12:00 AM IST
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Sloane Stephens | AFP

New York: Sloane Stephens has had a brutal draw in the opening two rounds, both personally and professionally. After getting past Madison Keys in the opening round, in a rematch of the 2017 women's singles final, she faced another good friend and compatriot in No. 21 seed Coco Gauff.

After winning a third-set tiebreak against Keys, the 28-year-old was ruthlessly efficient against Gauff in a 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Medvedev, Tsitsipas stay on track. The Russian has not been troubled in his bid to improve upon a 2019 final and 2020 semifinal in New York. He went four sets against Dominik Koepfer on his way to the '19 final, but needed just three on the day for a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 verdict.

Tsitsipas faced Adrian Mannarino at night. After surviving a five-set thriller against Andy Murray in Round 1, Tsitsipas never trailed in this one. The Frenchman got on the board by taking a third-set tiebreak, but after leaving the court to change clothes following the breaker, Tsitsipas raced through a bagel final set to advance, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-0.

Sabalenka, the world No. 2 thought she broke a finger after taking a fall midway through the opening set of her win against Tamara Zidansek, when she hit her hand on the Grandstand pavement.

"I hit it really hard," she said following the 6-3, 6-1 victory. "We'll see tomorrow what's going on with my fingers, because right now it's a little bit bigger (smiling). The color of my finger is changing. It's getting darker.

While No. 2 seed Sabalenka did it the hard way, third-seeded Naomi Osaka advanced via a walkover, as opponent Olga Danilovic withdrew ahead of their second-round match.

Three upsets dotted the men's draw, with No. 8 seed Casper Ruud now the highest seed to be bounced across both singles brackets. The Norweigan entered the Open as one of the ATP's in-form players, sitting at a career-high of world No. 11. But it was world No. 117 Botic van de Zandschulp who found form on Court 13, coming from behind to secure his his first third-round Slam showing, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

There was no such trouble on the women's side, where each of the top 20 seeds are still standing. Gauff, seeded No. 21, became the top-ranked player to fall, while No. 31 Ekaterina Alexandrova was the only other seeded exit.

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