In a highly-anticipated second round clash at the U.S. Open on Wednesday night, it was the veteran and former champion Sloane Stephens who got the better of the young star Coco Gauff. Stephens, who won the event in 2017, claimed her spot in the third round with a 6-4, 6-2 win.
I thought today obviously was a good opportunity to go out and play some good tennis. We know that Coco is a great player. I was looking forward to a good match. I thought that we both played well,” said Stephens. “There was times that I took my chances. I think they paid off well. I just really executed well tonight my game plan and was happy to get the win.”
The opening set was even as both players calmly held serve. Gauff blinked first though as she double faulted on break point at 4-4, and Stephens consolidated the break to claim the first set.
Stephens continued her nearly flawless serving in the second set. In all, she got 84 percent of her first serves in and saved the only break point she faced in the entire match.
“I knew I wanted to place a lot of first serves and get myself started early in the points,” said Stephens. “Serving that high percentage for me is always really key just because I can get into the points and I can start off aggressive with me dictating play, which is what I want to do.”
Stephens will have to wait to find out who her opponent is, as the match between Angelique Kerber and Anhelina Kalinina was postponed on Wednesday night.
All the matches on the women’s side, save for one, were wrapped up in straight sets on Wednesday. Second-seed Aryna Sabalenka, fifth-seed Elina Svitolina, ninth-seed Garbine Muguruza, 12th seed Simona Halep, 15th seed Elise Mertens, 18th seed Victoria Azarenka, 19th seed Elena Rybakina and 20th seed Ons Jabeur all came through in straight sets.
A fired up Victoria Azarenka, a finalist last year, is into the third round. (Photo Credit: Manuela Davies/USTA)
Eighth-seed Czech Barbora Krejcikova defeated New Jersey native Christina McHale 6-3, 6-1, setting up a matchup with Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova, who knocked off her compatriot and 32nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4, 6-1.
American Danielle Collins powered past Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan 6-4, 6-2 and will play Sabalenka next.
Danielle Collins has lost just 12 games thus far en route to the U.S. Open third round. (Photo Credit: Brad Penner/USTA)
The only three-set match on the women’s side resulted in a win for 25th seed Daria Kasatkina, who defeated Marketa Vondrousova 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. She will play Svitolina next.
Defending champion and third-seed Naomi Osaka received a walkover into the third round, and will play Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez, who won 7-5, 7-5 over Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.