Sloane Stephens defeated fellow American Madison Keys to win the 2017 US Open title. This was her first Grand Slam title victory.
The American constructed an impressive 6-3, 6-0 win over her friend Keys to become the first American other than Serena Williams and Venus Williams to win a Grand Slam competition in 15 years. Jennifer Capriati was the last player from the USA to have achieved that feat.
What makes this US Open triumph even more stunning is that less than two months ago, Stephens was ranked outside the top 900 in the world as she looked to return to competitive tennis following her injury issues. She was 83rd in the world when she made it to the US Open, getting a direct qualification by a whisker before going on to win the title.
Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys#USOpen
— BBC Tennis (@bbctennis) September 9, 2017
In turn she also routed one of her best friends on the WTA circuit, Keys, who was gunning to win her maiden Grand Slam title as well but fell short in a one-sided final.
Stephens was out of action for 11 months before returning back recently, having suffered a foot injury. To have returned to competitive tennis and gone on to lose in the first rounds at Wimbledon and WTA Washington, would have given her no chance to go all the way here.
Turns out, Stephens is made of sterner stuff than that. After defeating Dominika Cibulkova, Julia Goerges and Venus Williams and needing four three-setters in the lead-up to the final, she dropped just three games in her match against Keys to lift the trophy.
And in doing so, she won her fattest pay-cheque by a distance as well, something she made a mention of in her press conference. When asked if the title win “gave her hunger to win another Slam”, Stephens pointed to the cheque that she received and added, “if that doesn’t make you want to play tennis, I don’t know what will.”
In 7 years on tour, Sloane Stephens made $4,519,709. Her US Open winner’s check today is $3,700,000. pic.twitter.com/zhylGzc5E6
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 9, 2017
The men’s singles final will be played between Rafael Nadal and Kevin Anderson.