MONTREAL, Canada - No.3 seed Sloane Stephens wasted little time moving into third round at the Coupe Rogers, dropping just two games against Canadian wildcard Françoise Abanda, 6-0, 6-2.
Abanda came into the match riding high after scoring the first Top 50 win of her career in her 6-3, 6-2 victory against Kirsten Flipkens, but she looked out of her depth on Court Central against US Open champion Stephens - the first Top 10 player she’s faced.
“I think she's a great player, [but] honestly, she's young,” Stephens said of her opponent. “Obviously she needs more experience, playing more at this level, but I think that just comes with time. It happens to all of us, so it's not anything to be too worried about.
“I think she's a great player and she'll continue to get better as long as she listens to her coaches, does everything that everyone is supposed to do: work hard, have fun. I don't think she should be too worried. I think she's on the right track.”
Stephens kept the Canadian’s game smothered in the first set, firing winners off both wings and chasing down everything Abanda hit her way. The American stayed steady against Abanda and the Montreal crowd support, batting away two break points to hold for a 2-0 lead.
Abanda put in a mammoth effort to dodge six break points at 5-0 in a marathon game, but Stephen’s wouldn’t be denied as she reeled off another break and took the set to love.
The American made it eight games in a row as she opened up the second set with a commanding break to love. Abanda delighted the Montreal crowd by getting on the scoreboard at 2-1, and started mounting a challenge by grabbing one of the breaks back at 4-2. But Stephens stuck to her game plan and slammed the door shut a few games later, converting her third match point to close out the match after an hour and 20 minutes.
Stephens outgunned Abanda with 24 winners to the Canadian’s four, keeping herself in the positives to offset her 20 unforced errors. As a result, she broke Abanda a total of six times from 20 chances and saved five break points of her own.
Up next, Stephens will take on Carla Suarez Navarro in the third round after Lesia Tsurenko was forced to retire in the second set, trailing 6-4 3-2.
“I've played her a couple times before,” Stephens said. “I think it will be a good match. Obviously third round here, it's going deeper into the tournament and whoever you're playing is good. She obviously won two matches. I’m just going to go out and play my best, do all I can to compete well.”