No.1 seed Sloane Stephens of the United States took home a WTA 125 title for the first time in her career at l'Open 35 de Saint Malo, defeating Greet Minnen of Belgium 6-3, 6-4 in Sunday's final.
Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion and former World No.3, took 1 hour and 40 minutes to outlast the unseeded Belgian and triumph on the clay courts of France. Stephens won 80 percent of her first-service points in the final.
Currently ranked World No.48, Stephens won her first two matches by identical 6-1, 6-1 scorelines, and dropped only one set all tournament, to Jessika Ponchet in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Stephens battled another former World No.3, Elina Svitolina, who is on the comeback trail after maternity leave. Stephens eked out a 7-5, 7-6(5) win in that marquee semifinal, setting up the final against World No.173 Minnen.
SLOANE STEPHENS 🎾— L'Open 35 de Saint-Malo (@LOPEN35STMALO) May 7, 2023
Elle remporte en deux sets la finale simple de l’Open 35 de Saint-Malo, S. STEPHENS 🇺🇸 est la grande gagnante 🏆
Score final : 6-3 / 6-4 ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/MLTpZW78VR
Minnen defeated two seeds en route to her first WTA 125 final, including No.2 seed Claire Liu in the first round. Minnen had lost her lone previous meeting with Stephens in the first round of last year's US Open, but she did push Stephens to three sets there.
Stephens, though, took command early in Sunday's final, powering to the one-set lead without facing a break point. Minnen pushed back in the second set, going up a break on two separate occasions at 1-0 and 3-2.
But each of those times, Stephens broke back immediately, and the American prevailed in a pivotal 4-4 game, saving break point with her third ace of the day before holding serve.
In the final game, Stephens took a 0-30 lead with a winning backhand pass, and Minnen double faulted on the following point to set up triple championship point. Stephens needed only one chance when Minnen sent a forehand long to end the clash.
Minnen, however, did leave Saint Malo as a titlist, as she paired with Dutchwoman Bibiane Schoofs to win the doubles championship. No.4 seeds Minnen and Schoofs beat No.1 seeds Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway and Eri Hozumi of Japan 7-6(7), 7-6(3) in Saturday's doubles final.
Minnen and Schoofs were down a break on four separate occasions in the second set before gritting out the tiebreak and wrapping up the victory after 2 hours and 2 minutes.