It was an unexpectedly short all-American US Open title match between Grand Slam finals debutantes, as unseeded Sloane Stephens needed 60 minutes sharp to eliminate seed No.15 Madison Keys 6-3 6-0.
The 24-year-old Stephens went through eight games without making an unforced error, finishing the first set with just two unforced errors and just four points lost on serve. Before you knew it the first set was over, but it turned out that the second set was just as short, with Stephens’ only hiccup coming in the fifth game, when she faced three break points, but saved them all. This championship match finished so quickly, that I barely got the feeling it even started.
Since computer rankings began in November 1975 only two players – the unranked Kim Clijsters in 2009 and No.26 Flavia Pennetta in 2015 – have won the US Open title ranked outside the Top 10. The world No.83 Stephens is now the third and the title will lift her to No.17 in the WTA rankings.
By defeating Roberta Vinci in the first round, seed No.11 Dominika Cibulkova in the second, Ashleigh Barty in the third, seed No.30 Julia Goerges in the fourth, seed No.16 Anastasija Sevastova in the quarterfinals, seed No.9 Venus Williams in the semis and finally Keys, Stephens has scored more wins this fortnight at the 2017 US Open (seven), than she had in her last six Grand Slam appearances combined (six).
What a story! Who would’ve thought that Stephens, who had been ranked as low as No. 957 when entering the 2017 US Open Series, would win her maiden Grand Slam title!