Once considered the future of women’s tennis in the United States, Sloane Stephens has since fallen off the beaten path and dropped significantly in the rankings. However, she managed a successful start in Paris and will now look ahead to another match-up against British No. 1 Heather Watson. This marks the fifth time that the two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with the Watson vs Stephens Head to Head standing at 4-0.
Not seeded at this year’s tournament, Sloane Stephens was handed a stiff opening match against former Grand Slam great Venus Williams. However, in one of her better matches of the season, Stephens managed to secure a straight sets victory against Williams to secure her spot in the second round. She won the match 7-6, 6-1, where she struck 22 winners and converted al three of the break points she got on serve.
“I didn’t really know what to expect. I mean, obviously she’s a great player and a great champion. I knew I was just going to have to get out there and do my best. Obviously I have never played her in a real match. So I didn’t know if she was going to boss me off the court or like how that was going to go. But I knew if I just stayed in there and played my game that it would be a good match.”
Stephens will next come up against Heather Watson in the second round of the tournament after the British No. 1 worked her way into that stage of the tournament with a 6-4, 7-5 win against Johnsson.
This marks the fourth time that these two competitors will cross paths on the tour. Watson remains undefeated in the series with a 4-0 mark but has not faced Stephens since the start of the year at the Hobart International. Given Watson’s record against Stephens, this should be her match to lose. However, Stephens will also be motivated to gather some momentum for the second Grand Slam of the season.
Prediction: Sloane Stephens in Three Sets