Stephens Routs Buddy Keys for 1st Grand Slam Title at US Open
by Staff | September 9th, 2017, 7:07 pm
  • 25 Comments

Both players started out nervy, but only Sloane Stephens was able to shake it off, rolling over fellow American Madison Keys winning the last eight games to take it 6-3, 6-0 for her first Grand Slam title on Saturday at the US Open.

Unseeded after 11 months off due to foot surgery, Stephens was far steadier that the No. 15-seeded Keys, striking 10 winners to only six unseeded errors.

“When I had surgery (in January), I was not thinking that I would be anywhere near a US Open title,” Stephens said after the one hour romp. “Nor did I think I was going to be anywhere near the top 100.

“There is no words to describe how I got here, the process it took or anything like that, because if you told someone this story, they’d be, like, That’s insane. I’m just happy to be here.”

She improved to a perfect 5-0 career in finals.

“I was extremely nervous before I went on the court,” added Stephens. “My coach was like, Just breathe, take deep breaths. You know, like, You’ll be fine. Once I got out there, I felt better. Nervous or not, her being nervous, me being nervous, we’re going to have to compete on matter what. We’re going to have to play.

“I was just fortunate enough to hold it together a little bit longer, and I just went out and completed and ran after every ball. That’s all I focused on.”

The 24-year-old Stephens fought off all three of Keys’ break point opportunities, and maintained her calm throughout the match as Keys slammed her racquet against the bottom of her foot, unable to contain the rash of unforced errors on one of her primary weapons, the forehand. She had 30 unforced errors to 18 winners.

Keys created a chance to perhaps get back into the second set with Stephens serving at 4-0, 0-40, but a flurry of Stephens winners off all wings, including the volley, shut the door. Stephens won the final eight games of the match.

The two shared a tearful hug at the net afterwards, and the friends laughed and talked while waiting for the trophy ceremony to start.

“I told Maddie I should just retire now,” said Stephens. “It’s never going to get better than this.”

Stephens got into the main draw with a protected ranking after her 11 months off, and was ranked in the 900s earlier this summer around the time of her comeback at Wimbledon, where she lost in the first round.

“I had surgery January 23,” she said. “If someone had told me then that I would win the US Open, ‘It’s impossible,’ I would say. This journey has been incredible, and honestly I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Keys found herself on the other end of the equation after blowing out another American friend, CoCo Vandeweghe, in the semifinals.

“Sloane is truly one of my favorite people,” said Keys. “To get to play her was really special. Obviously, I didn’t play my best tennis today and was disappointed. But if there’s someone I have to lose to today, I’m glad it’s her.”

Keys, who won the Stanford title earlier this summer, fell to 1-1 in 2017 finals and 3-4 career.

“Obviously I didn’t play my best tennis today,” lamented Keys. “I’m really disappointed. But if you told me as I was getting on a plane to go have my second surgery that I could have a Grand Slam finalist trophy in my hands at the end of the year, I think I’d be really happy.

“I think I mostly learned that I’m a fighter. No matter what, I can figure things out. In a couple of days, I will be really happy, but right now still a little bit disappointed.”

Stephens was ranked No. 957 just in July. She’ll now rank No. 17 tomorrow. And she becomes the second first-time Grand Slam winner this year after Jelena Ostapenko at the French.

“I’m going to totally put this in my bio, US Open champion,” Stephens said. “I think when anyone has a Grand Slam champion in front of their name, it changes things a little bit. So I don’t know if I have arrived or already arrived, been arrived, I don’t know, but I do know I’m a US Open champion.”


You Might Like:
Keys, Stephens Book All-American Final at US Open
Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys Have New Coaches
All-American Grand Slam Women’s Semifinals [Chart]
Madison Keys Parts With Lindsay Davenport, Will Now Be Coached By Jesse Levine
Venus, Stephens Set Up Half of Potential All-American Semifinals at US Open

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

25 Comments for Stephens Routs Buddy Keys for 1st Grand Slam Title at US Open

Okiegal.... Says:

Congratulations to Sloane on her first Slam! She played flawless tennis. I loved their long hug at the net …….super class all the way!


Humble Rafa Says:

Congratulations luck to the Small Lady. If she wants to be Serena, she needs to put on another 100 pounds, she’s got time.


Humble Rafa Says:

Most people got more pleasure by watching their paint dry than watching this match.


Okiegal Says:

Well HR…..it wasn’t the most exciting match to watch for sure……but winning a slam is a big deal just the same……….


skeezer Says:

“Most people got more pleasure by watching their paint dry than watching this match.”
That will be tomorrow.
Congrats Stephens. Great paint job👍🎾


Okiegal Says:

I am looking forward to watching Rafa paint the lines tomorrow and so will thousands of other tennis fans…..RAFA THE GLADIATOR!! Take a bite out of another trophy! Win lose or draw…..whatever happens he’s had amazing year right along with Roger! Two great athletes!


Margot Says:

Maddy hampered by her hamstring injury so very one sided. At 4 -0 in the 2nd both women showed what a wonderful final it might have been.
But I like them both. Maddy with her aggressive clean strike tennis and Sloane, gliding round the court with the speed of an ice skater and then, at the end of a rally, such wonderful ball control.
If they both stay injury free, we’re in for a tennis treat.


t4t Says:

Only Fed matches are like watching paint dry because his opponents are carefully selected to give him no competition. Unfortunately sometimes, the best laid plans of mice and men go awry and some guy expected to roll over and die suddenly blasts Fed off the court.
I am going to enjoy tomorrow’s match.


Okiegal Says:

@Margot…..I am partial to Madison, but as you said she was hampered by an injury. She would have put up a better fight had she been able. Better luck for her next. My hope for her is a speedy recovery along with all the others……


James the 1st Says:

Didn’t see the match but happy for Sloane and US tennis. It’s great to have a new young champion.

The women’s final however should be a best of 5 in Grand Slams. Not talking about best of 5 for all rounds. Just the final. They make as much as men do for much less time and effort. I understand that it wouldn’t be right to have them play best of 5 the entire tournament. Men are just so much fitter physically. That being said, women are also fit enough to play at least one best of 5. This would also ensure that their finals are more interesting.


James the 1st Says:

Didn’t see the match but happy for Sloane and US tennis. It’s great to have a new young champion.

The women’s final however should be a best of 5 in Grand Slams. Not talking about best of 5 for all rounds. Just the final. They make as much as men do for much less time and effort. I understand that it wouldn’t be right to have them play best of 5 the entire tournament. Men are just so much fitter physically. That being said, women are also fit enough to play at least one best of 5. This would also ensure that their finals are more interesting.


J-Kath Says:

James the 1st: Well done – gave me a chuckle.


J-Kath Says:

James the 1st:

I struggle to identify any difference between Women’s GS Matches and other tournaments….so agree – 5 sets at some stage is worth considering.


Margot Says:

Women and men, 5 sets from quarters on.


Nobody Says:

I agree with Margot. 5 sets from quarters on. 5 sets in the first rounds is just boring, and makes scheduling a nightmare.


Humble Rafa Says:

I hate hurricanes.

I say it so Skeeze will come out in praise of all the great things hurricanes do to mankind.


RZ Says:

Re: the 5-set debate – it all comes down to TV. I think the tournaments have enough court space and time by the 2nd week to allow for the women (and this would include doubles and mixed) to play 5-sets. But the TV coverage deals would probably not go for it, and their money talks.


RZ Says:

Congrats to Sloane Stephens. What a comeback from injury! I hope this is not a one-off and that she’ll continue to complete for slam titles in the future.


J-Kath Says:

RZ: You are probably right. But there is so much going on in the first week that 3-setters then would work.


Pamela Says:

T4tT that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Neither Roger or anyone else has any choice who they play. Ever hear of the draw? Are are you saying Roger is able to “fix” the draw and play who he wants?? If that was the case he would have picked the draw Rafa got. Ridiculous statement


Pamela Says:

Kudos to Sloane for a great tournament. It appears that sloane had a major attitude adjustment while she was recuperating and it paid off. Madison’s day will come.. great time for womens’ tennis…and Humble Rafa…. it has been very clear from the start that Sloane has no desire to be Serena Williams… Sloane, since the beginning has said just b/c they’re both black, does not mean that Serena will mentor her. Besides Serena showing zero interest in doing so, Sloane has never been shy saying she too, did not see Serena has a mentor… she did it all by herself with the help of her team..


Markus Says:

t4t knows everything.


Margot Says:

AM: I see you won Jalep’s WTA. Well done you!
We picked the same finalists, never saw Sloane slipping silkily through! Think she’s a fabulous player. Certainly wont forget her next time.


AndyMira Says:

@M!…Thank u so much for your congratz Boss!!Hehe…Bout Sloane..if u remember M,U picked her deep in Cincy[to the final].but she lost to Simona in Semis..and in Toronto,she’s also lost in semis to Caro Wozniaki with a tight margin…so,from those 2 occasions,i knew she will make an impact at USO…tho’ my theory not working well with the Big John!hahaha…


BBB Says:

I don’t doubt that the women could play 5 setters, and they’ve offered to, but adding longer matches right as we’re seeing a spike in injuries seems inadvisable to me.

The good news is that the sportsmanship these two showed has gone viral and may draw some new fans to tennis.


Leave Your Comment [guidelines]

Top story: German Qualifier Gojowczyk Goals at ATP Metz