US Open: Stephens, Halep reach third round

New York: The 2017 champion Sloane Stephens advanced to the third round of the US Open in women’s singles with a dominant 6-4, 6-2 win over number 21 seed Coco Gauff in 66 minutes.

With the roof closed on Arthur Ashe Stadium due to rain, Stephens saved the sole break point against the 17-year-old American, moving her record in the second round of Slams to an impressive 24-3.

This was the first career meeting between Stephens and Gauff. Now ranked number 66, Stephens’ form had been trending up since the start of the clay season this spring.

“I’ve had to battle two good friends,” Stephens was quoted as saying on the WTA website. “I think the pressure is a little bit different when you play two people that you know well. It’s a different type of pressure. Playing here at the US Open and playing Americans, it’s very different.

Number 3 seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka too moved into the third round after qualifier Olga Danilovic withdrew ahead of their second-round clash due to a medical reason. Danilovic posted on social media that she has been dealing with a viral illness this week.

Another significant beneficiary of Danilovic’s withdrawal was number 12 seed Simona Halep. Originally scheduled second on Court 17 with rain forecast all day, the 2015 semifinalist was moved to Arthur Ashe Stadium, enabling her to get her second round done and dusted even as the heavens opened.

Halep’s 6-3, 6-1 defeat of lucky loser Kristina Kucova in just 68 minutes moved the Romanian into the third round here for the first time since 2016.

 

Image courtesy of (Photo: Twitter @SloaneStephens)

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