US Open 2017: Sloane Stephens defeats No. 16 Anastasija Sevastova in three sets
Stephens' Cinderella run through the Open will continue into the semifinals
Sloane Stephens is continuing her comeback tour in style. The 24-year-old American is advancing to the US Open semifinals after defeating No. 16 Anastasija Sevastova in three sets, 6-3 3-6 7-6. Stephens is part of a dominant US showing at the Open, with Venus Williams, Madison Keys and CoCo Vandeweghe still yet to play in quarterfinal matches. Stephens showed veteran savvy after dropping the second set to Sevastova, playing through a grueling set of rallies to claim the final set 7-6.
Stephens is coming back from a stress fracture in her foot, and is the true underdog of this tournament. She got swept in her return match at Wimbledon, but has come back with a vengeance. Three of her last four wins in the Open have been against ranked opponents, and all three of those wins have been gritty three-set performances. Stephens wasn't even participating in tournaments this time last year, and now she's going on to play for a berth in the US Open finals.
After the match, the now 83rd-ranked Stephens said she was getting teary-eyed and thanked the crowd. She also called the Open her favorite tournament, and for someone that is making the semifinals in front of what amounts to a home crowd, it's hard to imagine that it wouldn't be. This will be Stephens's second appearance in a final four at a Grand Slam, as she made it during the Australian Open four years ago.
Stephens has been playing superb tennis, but her next test will not prove to be easy. She will face off against the winner of No. 9 Venus Williams and No. 13 Petra Kvitova. However, if there's one thing that she's proven so far, she's capable of squaring off against ranked opponents without flinching. There are no easy roads to the finals, but Stephens's path to these semifinals have hardly been a cakewalk either.
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