Reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens had no trouble winning her opening-round match at Roland Garros over tricky Dutchwoman Arantxa Rus in straight sets.
WTA Staff
May 27, 2018

PARIS, France -- No.10 seed Sloane Stephens of the United States quickly made it into the second round of the French Open on Sunday, dispatching Dutch lucky loser Arantxa Rus, 6-2, 6-0, in a 49-minute romp.

"Grand Slams are what everyone works for and I hope to have a good result here and play well here," Stephens told the press, after the match. "It's one of my favorite tournaments. So, yeah, I'm hoping for some good things, but definitely really ready, as you can see."

Stephens, who reached the fourth round at Roland Garros for four consecutive years between 2012 and 2015, was dominant on the day over Rus, slamming 17 winners to only two for the Dutchwoman. Rus also had a whopping 24 unforced errors, which hardly helped her cause as the match progressed.

Rus had challenged the reigning US Open champion in their only previous encounter: a second-round tussle at Acapulco earlier this year, where the left-hander from the Netherlands held a match point for a straight-set win before Stephens rebounded to prevail in three sets.

But Stephens had far less trouble in this match, extending her win-loss record in first-round matches at the French Open to 7-0. Her second-round opponent will be the winner of the match between Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova and Polish qualifier Magdalena Frech.

"It's always tough when you play a lefty, and then when they spin the serves and stuff, it's a little bit tricky," said Stephens. "But I adjusted my feet well and got used to it, and was able to handle it okay."

The American was extremely strong on her forehand side during this particular match, and claimed the first break of the battle with a powerful winner off of that wing to lead 3-1. Stephens struggled through her next service game to consolidate the break, but reeled off four straight points from 0-30 to hold for 4-1.

After a love hold by Stephens for 5-2, Rus needed a solid service game to put any sort of pressure on the American. But the Dutch lefty’s forehand went awry during the game, queuing up double set point for Stephens. Unfortunately for Rus, she double faulted the set away, handing over a one-set advantage to the 2018 Miami Open champion.

Rus has had success at Roland Garros in the past, ousting then-World No.2 Kim Clijsters in the second round in 2011, then reaching the fourth round the following year. But she was never able to find a foothold in this match, and quickly ceded a 3-0 lead to Stephens in the second set.

By this juncture, the American was rolling, and she powered through a long game to steal the Rus serve for a 4-0 lead, on her third break point of the game. In the following game, another forehand winner on game point put Stephens up 5-0, which felt insurmountable, considering Rus was never able to get to break point during the contest.

Had Rus been able to force Stephens to serve for the match, that statistic might have been tested, but the Dutchwoman faltered on serve again, and hit two straight miscues off her forehand to lose the final two points of the match. The World No.106 will surely have better days ahead of her, but for now, it is the 10th seed who stays alive in Paris.