Teen Stephens keeps US tennis hopes alive
Teenager Sloane Stephens kept the Stars and Stripes flying at the French Open on Friday with a 6-3, 6-2 third round win over Mathilde Johansson of France.
The Florida youngster was one of just three Americans to make it into the third round along with Christina McHale and Uzbekistan-born Varvara Lepchenko, following the early exits of Serena and Venus Williams.
The situation is worse among the US men with John Isner’s defeat late Thursday meaning that none of their eight starters made it into the third round.
For 19-year-old Stephens it was the first time she has reached the last 16 of a Grand Slam tournament in four appearances, ensuring she will continue her rise up the world rankings.
She broke early against Johansson in the third game and moved out into a 5-2 lead before a sloppy game when serving for the set allowed the home player some respite.
But she broke again in the following game to take the set and, after a closely-fought start to the second set, she moved 3-1 up with a break in the fourth game.
That was all the American needed as she powered away to a place in the fourth round.
Next up for Stephens, the only teenager to make it into the third round, will be the winner of the match opposing 2010 runner-up Samantha Stosur of Australia and Nadia Petrova of Russia.