NEW YORK, NY, USA - Sloane Stephens looked far more like the player who cruised through her second round match than the one who barely squeaked through her first round match, needing just 63 minutes to win an all-American match-up against Jamie Hampton on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday.
The No.15-seeded Stephens was hitting the ball crisply and cleanly early in the match, storming out to a 61 31 lead - the No.23-seeded Hampton put up some resistance by sneaking the next two games and closing to 61 33, but it was too late, and Stephens reeled off three more of her own to win, 61 63.
Hampton wasn't too happy with her match numbers on the day - 12 winners to 34 unforced errors.
"I think I've shown tendencies to play really bad in big moments," Hampton said in her post-match press conference. "Kind of sucks. I'm incredibly, incredibly disappointed in the way I played today.
"I think Sloane's had a lot more experience on the big stage, and I think personality-wise she embraces it a little better than I do at the moment. With my personality, I tend to shy away from it a little bit.
"It's a little bit of a struggle, but it's something that's being addressed currently."
Despite the aforementioned disappointment, there was a silver lining for Hampton. "I'm incredibly disappointed right now, but if I'm looking at the big picture, last year at this time, I didn't play any warm-up events. I tried playing ranked 80 in the world. So to be seeded a year later here at the Open, making it past the first round for the first time, it's definitely a step in the right direction and a lot of progress."
What's next for the American No.3? "I think I'm going to play Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing and Osaka."
Stephens came into press a little later in the day after playing her mixed doubles match.
"Once I got my first round match out of the day, I was feeling a lot better," Stephens said. "I played well in my second match, and played well today as well, so it was good. I'm feeling really good now."
Stephens is now through to the second week of the US Open for the first time. She has done it at the other three Grand Slams - semifinals of Australia this year, fourth round in Paris the last two years and quarters of Wimbledon this year. She's an impressive 15-3 in Grand Slam matches so far this year.
"It's been awesome," Stephens said of the feat. "I've played really well in the Slams this year and I'm pleased with my results. It's a pretty good stat. I guess at the Grand Slams it's just showtime."
Other winners in the day session were No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat No.32 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 64 76(1); No.5 seed Li Na, who beat No.30 seed Laura Robson, 62 75; No.8 seed Angelique Kerber, who beat No.25 seed Kaia Kanepi, 60 64; No.9 seed Jelena Jankovic, who edged Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara, 64 76(5); No.18 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, who beat Zheng Jie, 62 64; and No.24 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who beat No.16 seed Sabine Lisicki, 64 75.
"I was feeling very good today," Kerber said of her match. "I was there from the first point and I was really focusing and concentrating on my game. So I'm really happy to be in the next round now."