It was curtains at the 2021 US Open for teen sensation Coco Gauff as she was knocked out in the second round by fellow American and 2017 champion Sloane Stephens. The 28-year old beat the 21st seed in straight sets 6-4,6-2 and marched into the third round.
This is Stephens’ second consecutive third round appearance and she looks good to go deep in the tournament. She never looked out of sorts against Gauff and gained momentum right at the beginning, winning some exciting rallies. Her serve was also on money and all she needed was one decisive break of serve to win the set 6-4.
Stephens was even more dominant in the second set. She was hitting winners at will left, right and centre and was also aided by unforced errors from Gauff. With a double break’s advantage, she eased away with the second set 6-2.
In the on court interview, Stephens addressed her battles against two fellow Americans in the first two rounds. She beat Madison Keys in the first round an revealed the pressure that comes in playing an American at Flushing Meadows.
“I’ve had to battle two good friends,” she said. “I think the pressure is a little bit different when you play two people that you know well. It’s a different type of pressure. Obviously playing here at the US Open and playing Americans, it’s very different.”
“But I’m really happy with the two wins. I played good tennis to get them. I mean, it’s still only the third round of a Slam so I have to keep going. But it’s nice to know that I was able to get those two wins with all the pressure and outer things happening.”
‘She has a long way to go,’ Stephens lauds Gauff
Stephens also addressed Gauff and said that the 17-year old had a long way ahead of her.
She said: “I think the last time we hit, she was probably 12. It was a little bit different. I don’t know why, we just never really have practiced on tour. I wasn’t too familiar. Obviously I’ve seen her play. I know her game well. We trained with the same coach for a long time. We kind of have similar things that we do, which is interesting.”
“But as her game has evolved… Obviously she’s only 17, so she has a long way to go. I think just being able to see it, I feel old. She was at my 21st birthday. I’m now 28.”
Stephens will now play either Angelique Kerber or Anhelina Kalinina in the third round.