Sloane Stephens is in a great position to return back to the final of the US Open this weekend. The 2017 champion is a comfortable favourite against Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova, who is in the last 8 for the third year running. Stephens beat her in a third set tiebreak on her way to the title last year.
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Sevastova already has one top 10 scalp this week after wild three set win over Elina Svitolina, dropping just one game in sets 1 and 3 of the win. “It was one of the best third sets [I’ve played].” she said. “It was very important, I think, winning the first game. Just holding the serve 2-0 and feeling more free.”
Just weeks after Elise Mertens comfortably beat her in Cincinnati, Sloane gained her revenge with a similarly easy win – beating the Belgian 6-3 6-3 to make it into the quarter finals. “Being defending champion, being able to get to the quarterfinals again, is incredible. I’m just going to try to keep building on that and keep going.” she said.
With Serena Williams heavily favoured to face her in the semi finals, Sloane will be hoping for a repeat of her Montreal match with Sevastova. She beat the 19th seed 6-2 6-2 in a barely competitive match. “I think it will be a good match. Hoping to just get out there and kind of execute the same game plan.” she said. While she does have 2 R1 losses at a slam this year, she has been developing a reputation as a big match player as she closes in on a third slam final since her comeback.
“I think defending a title is super tough. It doesn’t happen very often. I think the expectation to come in here and win the tournament is just ridiculous, like it’s you have to take one match at a time.” she said. While expectations are rightly high for the No. 3, it’s likely the pressure may subside should the expected semi final happen.
Prediction – Sloane Stephens in straight sets