Stephens Cruises Past Gauff At US Open, Osaka Gets Walkover; Barty, Pliskova Return
by Staff | September 2nd, 2021, 1:11 am
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In the big showdown in the evening at stormy US Open, Sloane Stephens had no trouble taking care of Coco Gauff 6-4, 6-2 to reach the third round.

“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,” Stephens said.

‘I thought that we both played well. 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.”

In their first meeting, Stephens, who won the 2017 US Open, proved to be better player, both off the ground and off her serve.

“Obviously she’s only 17, so she has a long ways to go. I think just being able to see it, I feel old. She was, like, at my 21st birthday. I’m now 28. I’m really old,” Stephens added.

“It’s just been really nice to see her game kind of evolve and the things that she’s doing, like how she’s able to turn so much defense into offense and kind of do those movements. She is great at the net. She has a really great all-around game. It’s been really nice to see.”

Gauff credited her good friend Stephens.

“Sloane played really well,” said Gauff. “I think tonight I just didn’t play my best tennis that I could have. All the games were close. I just feel like I could have done a lot better returning and also on, like, pressure points, putting the ball in the court.

“I knew these last couple tournaments she’s been playing better and better. I hope that she can make it all the way to the end. I mean, obviously if you are going to lose, you want to lose to the champion.”

Stephens is back in the third round where she will await the winner between Angelique Kerber and Anhelina Kalinina.

During the day, Naomi Osaka didn’t have to hit a ball because her opponent, Olga Danilovic, withdrew due to an illness.

Osaka will now face the young Canadian Leylah Fernandez.

After a tough opener, Aryna Sabalenka blew through French semifinalist Tamara Zidansek 6-3, 6-1.

“I think it was really solid match, and I did everything I could in this match,” Sabalenka said. “I’m really happy with this win. Yeah, I think it was great level for me today.

She’ll now take on the hot-handed Danielle Collins who reached her first US Open third round pounding Kaja Juvan 6-4, 6-2.

“She’s a great player,” Sabalenka said of Collins. “We had a couple matches against each other, and it was tough matches. She’s playing well right now, moving much better than she was moving before.

“I would say powerful player, and she can come back whenever, like, whenever she want to. So she’s dangerous player and it’s going to be tricky to play against her, especially in the United States when everyone will support her. But I am used to it.”

Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza and French winner Barbora Krejcikova all enjoyed easy wins on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the schedule includes the return of Ash Barty. Former finalist Karolina Pliskova is on in the evening against Amanda Anisimova.

Gold medalist Belinda Bencic, 2-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova and former champion Bianca Andreescu are on Armstrong.

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