American tennis player Sloane Stephens found herself in trouble during her opening match at the US Open on Tuesday afternoon, but she rallied back to win against her Belgian-born opponent.
Greet Minnen, 25, took the first set by a solid 6–1 margin against Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, who struggled to keep up with the pace of play early on at Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Once the second set began, however, Stephens took total control of the match, and won the following two sets by a score of 6–3 to advance to the second round of play — where she will face the world’s #1-ranked woman, Iga Swiatek.
Minnen managed to win the first two games of the second set, but found herself committing a series of errors, which Stephens capitalized on, and broke her opponent multiple times to win seven-straight games.
“I was just fighting as hard as I can and with your guys support, you pushed me through, so thank you,” said 29-year-old Stephens, after her win.
“Happy to get another win at my favorite tournament.”
Stephens, who hails from Fort Lauderdale in the Sunshine State, has won just a single major tournament, when she bested Madison Keys in two sets at the US Open in 2017.
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She has been working alongside Rafael Nadal’s longtime coach, Francisc Roig, in recent years, but still entered the tournament as an unseeded player.
Swiatek made quick work of her opponent in the opening round, beating Italy’s Jasmine Paolini, as she won 6–3 and 6–0 on the same court that Stephens won her match.
The two will face off in a highly-anticipated match in the second round, where both women will need to bring their best to advance further.
Despite her dominant win in the opening match, Paolini said she still has room to improve, and said that he “needed to take it up to another level” going forward.
“In the first set I played pretty solid, but I needed to take it up to another level,” said Paolini. “I did that at the end and in the second set, so I’m pretty proud of that.”