NEW YORK, NY, USA - No.26 seed Sloane Stephens and No.7 seed Madison Keys wasted no time powering into the third round of the US Open, securing dominant straight-sets victories in their respective matches on a dramatic day for the top seeds.
2017 US Open champion Stephens was in control from the start against Belarus’ Olga Govortsova, breaking her opponent five times en route to a 6-2, 6-2 victory in just 67 minutes. She opened the tournament with another solid performance, winning 6-3, 6-3 against Michaela Buzarnescu, and now records her first back-to-back match wins of the season.
“I thought I played well today. Obviously getting into a little bit of a better rhythm, feeling my game out a little bit more, getting that confidence back,” Stephens told press after the match.
“Today I thought I played well, built on my first match. And then obviously another good opportunity to get out there on Saturday to play against Serena, possibly. Really looking forward to it, another shot just to have an opportunity to play obviously without having played that much this year. It's just another amazing opportunity to get out there.”
Stephens awaits the winner between Serena Williams, a six-time champion and the No.3 seed, and Margarita Gasparyan in the next round.
Another top player showing signs of great form, No.7 seed Madison Keys needed just under an hour to dismiss Aliona Bolsova, 6-1, 6-2. The 2017 finalist has yet to drop more than two games out of the four sets she’s contested so far, after defeating Timea Babos in a similarly one-sided scoreline, 6-1, 6-1 in the first round. Keys will take on Alize Cornet in the next round.
No.22 seed Amanda Anisimova was pushed to the limit by 16-year-old American wildcard Katrina Scott. Anisimova found herself down a set and facing break points in the second when she turned the match around to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
“The whole match I felt like I was in it,” 19-year-old Anisimova said in her post-match press conference. “I was definitely very nervous, so it was very hard to go for my shots the way I normally would. I was just trying to be consistent.
“She just kept making unbelievable shots, playing very well. I was just fighting the whole time because I knew I could come back at any time, just play it point by point and do the best that I can.”
Anisimova moves into the third round where she’ll take on No.15 seed Maria Sakkari. The Greek player had to come back from a set down herself, after Bernarda Pera broke her twice to take the lead. Sakkari came back to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Joining them in the third round are No.27 seed Ons Jabeur and No.20 Karolina Muchova, as well as No.18 seed Donna Vekic.
There was nothing to separate Jabeur and the tricky Kanepi in their opening set, with both players trading breaks twice before coming down to the wire in the tiebreak. Jabeur edged through to win the first set, and found another level to reel off the next six games and win 7-6(8), 6-0.
Jabeur’s victory earns her a rematch with Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, the No.2 seed. Kenin emerged victorious in the pair’s Melbourne quarterfinal clash, winning 6-4, 6-4 en route to her first Grand Slam victory.
Muchova fought through a tough second set to take down Anna Kalinskaya 6-3, 7-6(4) to book her spot in the third round. She’ll take on Sorana Cirstea next, after the Romanian authored a riveting upset over Johanna Konta earlier in the day.