Sloane Stephens played a near-perfect match to beat Madison Keys 6-3 6-0 in an all American final as she clinched her maiden grand slam title on Saturday. Stephens, who spent a year off the courts because of a foot injury, was never in trouble as her defensive play derailed the 15th-seeded Keys. In the first all American U.S. Open women’s final since Serena Williams beat her sister Venus in 2002, Stephens made only six unforced errors to frustrate Keys. She sealed a straightforward win on her third match point when Keys sent yet another shot into the net.
Stephens simply played with too much skill, accuracy and composure for Keys, who did not take nearly as well to her maiden Grand Slam final and seemed hindered by a leg injury. For three consecutive years, Stephens was the youngest player in first the top 100, then the top 50 and ultimately the top 20. There then came a period of struggle followed by foot surgery and now a US Open title.
The next chapter is hard to predict, but she will next week return to the world’s top 20 and forever be viewed in a different light by her fellow professionals.