LONDON, Great Britain -- No.9 seed Sloane Stephens of the United States made quick passage into the third round of Wimbledon on the Fourth of July, as she dispatched Wang Yafan of China, 6-0, 6-2.
"I thought I played a good, solid match, obviously from the beginning, so I was happy with that," Stephens said, during her post-match press conference. "I felt like I executed my game plan well, and that's all you can really do. I was just happy to get a good win today."
Stephens needed just 54 minutes to claim her spot in the round of 32 at the grass-court Grand Slam event for the fifth time in her career -- but her first time making it this far at Wimbledon since 2016. She had back-to-back first-round losses at the tournament in 2017 and 2018, but was a quarterfinalist in 2013 before losing to eventual champion Marion Bartoli.
"Obviously grass hasn't been my best surface, so just to come and try to give myself the best opportunity to win some matches and get going and get some confidence on it is pretty good," Stephens added. "I'm happy with that."
It was another superb straight-set display from Stephens this week, following her first-round victory over former Top 10 player Timea Bacsinszky in the opening round. The American won nearly 60 percent of points on Wang's first serve, and nearly 80 percent of the Chinese player's second-service points. Stephens converted five of seven break points in the clash and had 19 winners.
World No.57 Wang is rising through the ranks in 2019, having picked up her first-ever WTA singles title at Acapulco in March, defeating Sofia Kenin in the final. But Wang came undone against Stephens, with the Chinese player firing 20 unforced errors -- double that of her opponent -- to just seven winners.
In the third round, Stephens will face either Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic or British No.1 Johanna Konta, the 19th seed.
Stephens started her first-set dominance by taking an early 2-0 lead after a double fault by the Wang on break point in the Chinese player’s first service game of the match. Stephens consolidated the break with ease, sliding up to the net to pick off a volley and hold at love for 3-0.
Wang dropped serve at love to cede a 4-0 advantage to Stephens, as the American continued to roll through the opening frame. The Chinese player came close to avoiding a bagel, holding two game points at 5-0, but her errors allowed Stephens to attain a set point. Stephens took that chance with gusto, cracking a forehand winner to break for the one-set lead.
Stephens notched an eighth straight game by breaking Wang for 2-0 in the second set, before Wang finally got on the board by pulling back on serve in the very next game. The rallies increased in both length and intensity during the second set, and Wang did well to fend off two break points and garner a hold for 2-2.
But Stephens would not be denied on the day, slamming a forehand winner down the line to hold with ease for 3-2, then going up a break again in the following game, taking Wang’s serve at love with another down-the-line winner.
Good aggressive play by the American dug her out of a 0-30 hole en route to a hold for 5-2, and she grabbed her first match point in the next game after a series of errors by Wang. There, a forehand went long for Wang, and Stephens found herself back in the third round of Wimbledon.