ACAPULCO, Mexico - Top seed Sloane Stephens weathered a sluggish start before playing a nearly-flawless second set against Pauline to make a winning start at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC.
The 2016 champion needed just an hour and 15 minutes to record the 6-4, 6-0 victory to move into the second round, where she’ll face either qualifier Arantxa Rus or fellow American Kayla Day, a wild card.
Stephens got off to a shaky start against Parmentier; the reigning US Open champion hadn’t won a match all year, falling in the first round of Sydney and the Australian Open. In fact, she hadn’t won a match since lifting her maiden Grand Slam trophy in New York.
With her first-round exit in Melbourne leaving her 0-9 after the US Open, Stephens assured press in Australia saying, “It happens to everyone. I'm going to beat someone eventually. I will have the best Instagram picture when I finally snap this losing streak. It's just a learning experience.”
She finally snapped the streak in Acapulco, although victory looked a long way off when a handful of weak serves and a double fault gifted Parmentier the opening break at 2-1.
The French woman's lead didn’t last too long, however, as Stephens got her forehand roaring in the next few games, a flurry of winners earning her the break back to level at 3-3. She snapped up the next three of four games to take the opening set.
With her groundstrokes booming and Parmentier’s attack crumbling, Stephens quickly fired off three more breaks to win the next six games in a row and close out the match after an hour and 15 minutes.
Stephens stayed on the attack throughout both sets, firing off 12 winners to 22 unforced errors against Parmentier’s seven and 27. The American’s strong serving made the difference; Stephens won 65% of points off her first serve and gave Parmentier just two looks at break point, the Frenchwoman converting only one.