Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens has reached the third round of the Grand Slam after an impressive 6-4, 6-2 win over fellow American Coco Gauff on Wednesday night.
The 28-year-old produced a clinical display, breaking the Gauff serve three times and held all of her own, en route to victory as remnants of Hurricane Ida hammered the roof above Arthur Ashe Stadium.
World number 21 Gauff, 17, admitted afterwards that she feels her lack of experience in Grand Slam matches cost her against the world number 66.
Australian Open
Gauff hits 38 unforced errors as she's stunned by Wang in straight sets
17/01/2022 AT 07:12
“I think that I feel like I've learned that I'm capable of making it far in slams,” Gauff said.
“I think if I tighten up a few things, that I'm capable of winning one. The past couple slams I've lost to players that have gone to the quarters or won eventually, so it shows that I'm there.
“I feel like there's just an experience lacking that I have. I definitely think it shows. I think that I just need to play more matches, so I feel more comfortable on the pressure moments.”
Stephens said to Gauff “I love you” after the match as they embraced each other at the net.
The 2017 champion spoke of her friendship and admiration for Gauff in her on-court interview.
“I think everyone knows I love Coco,” she said.
“She’s such a great player, and I feel so lucky to have seen her grow up and see her play from when she was like 8 years old.
I have seen her game really transition and change. I’m really proud of the player she is and the girl she is and the woman she is becoming.
Stephens will face either former champion Angelique Kerber or Anhelina Kalinina in the third round.
Australian Open
Henin: Will be ‘huge surprise’ if Raducanu causes another upset at Australian Open
15/01/2022 AT 10:00
WTA Indian Wells
Stephens fights back to beat Watson at Indian Wells
06/10/2021 AT 23:06