Thursday, 21 September, 2017

Stephens claims Open title

The Latest: Keys, Stephens begin all-American US Open final Highlights of US Open 13th day
Vera Richards | 11 September, 2017, 00:45

Such natural, candid and comedic comments summed up the champion's mood after her 6-3, 6-0 victory over fellow American and friend Madison Keys for a top prize of $3.7 million (3.07 million euros). Sloane Stephens was ranked No. 956 in the world less than two months ago.

With triumph, Gauff would turn into the third most youthful stupendous hammer young ladies' champion after Swiss Martina Hingis, who was 12 when she won the 1993 French Open, and Jennifer Capriati, the 1989 French Open victor at 13 years, three months.

Set. A little over a month ago, the stage was set as Stephens, recently healed from her injuries and ranked number 934 in the world, began an epic run that, by early September, had her among the four semifinalists vying for the U.S. Open tennis title at Arthur Ashe Stadium in NY.

For Madison Keys, the only way to gain experience is.to gain experience.

Match. Stephens has been known to talk about winning a grand slam tournament with "that flawless moment", that ideal performance, that ideal match. Things just have to come together and the last five or six weeks they really have.

It would be easy to write off Stephens' victory as a one-and-done, the result of a streaking player performing "in the zone". "I'm enjoying my kids now, let me know when you can walk"'.

Two decades later the thrill of playing on Ashe has not diminished for Williams, who still tingles every time she steps onto the court.

Obviously I didn't play my best tennis and was disappointed but Sloane being the great friend she is was very supportive and if there's someone I had to lose to today, I'm glad it's her.

"I played really, really well".

Ranked 83 at the start of the fortnight, she is the lowest ranked singles player to win a major since Kim Clijsters in 2009.

Stephens had a taste of it four years ago when she defeated Serena Williams to reach the last four in Melbourne. I know if it was the other way around she would do the same for me.

The pressure and a number of events would temporarily derail Stephens' successful path.

Without a doubt, Stephens' game is better created to take that kind of pressure. During the off-season, Keys underwent surgery on her left wrist and missed the first two months of the year.

"I should just retire now", Stephens joked as she accepted her winnings.

Stephens used the word "insane" several times to describe her tale of rising from left foot surgery in January to a US Open crown.

Many are speculating that the aging Williams sisters will soon depart tennis in a few years, leaving a crater in the sport.

"And we have a bunch of young men who are right behind them". Venus continues to play at top form through illness.

"You are working to get ready for your matches and you are trying to keep as much of a routine as possible".

Celebrating with her friends might help make the incredible feat Stephens accomplished feel real.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand.

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