The Comeback of Sloane Stephens Takes Her to the US Open Semis
(September 5, 2017) FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Sloane Stephens’ comeback has taken her to the US Open semifinals. Sidelined with a left foot injury for 11 months due to surgery, she returned at Wimbledon and since August is 13-2 with semifinal runs in Cincinnati and Toronto and now the US Open.
In a tough battle that lasted almost two-and-a-half hours, she defeated 16th seed Anastaija Sevastova of Latvia 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(4). She rallied from a break down in the third set 1-3 to win.
The 24-year-old Floridian Stephens was ranked in the 900s at the beginning of August, moved into the top 100 (83) before the tournament began. She was in the main draw of the US Open due to a protected ranking.
“When I started my comeback at Wimbledon, I could have never even dreamed of something like this happening, with these results and then making the semifinals of my home Slam,” Stephens said to ESPN in her on-court interview.
This will be Stephen’s second major semifinal. She reached the final for of Australia in 2013, beating Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.
“To be honest, I don’t really remember what I felt like after the first one. But it was, I’d say, the first one was quite overwhelming,” she said. “But this one feels good.”
“I think I have a better perspective and just looking at the game totally different. Just happy with where I’m at. Just looking to build on it.”
Sevastova was asked if nerves played into her game during the match, especially during the third set. She said: “It was a close set. I think at 5-4 or 6-5 when I was serving, I was in control. There was not many nerves. But maybe before, in the beginning, a bit nervous. And also in the tiebreak.
“Yeah, but it’s normal. I mean, it’s the third set. You play for semifinals of US Open, I’m not a robot. Sorry.”
This was the second straight US Open quarterfinal the Latvian reached. She take home nothing but positives from this fortnight.
“(Reaching the quarterfinals) That’s a positive already. I lost 7-6 in the third to Sloane. I mean, she’s great. She’s playing great. She had better nerves in the end. She played amazing points in the end.
“She deserves it. Really, respect for her. It was a great tournament more me. I can’t deny it. Of course it hurts now, but yeah, in a couple of days it’s going to be okay. I’m going to live.”
“If someone would have told me when I started at Wimbledon that I’d be in the semifinals or making, well, three semifinals back to back, I would have said they’re crazy. Just happy to be playing really well and happy that my foot is good and I don’t have any pain and my body is holding up.
“So many positives, just to, like, take out of it for myself personally.”
Stephens will play the winner of the night match between Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova for a place in the final on Saturday.
“Obviously making semifinals of a slam is a complete neutralizer. Anybody’s game. I just have to focus on myself and, yeah, that’s all I can really do.”
More to follow…..