Always a special occasion when two Americans collide in the USA’s major in the month of 9/11. The fact that two players of color can have center stage at Arthur Ashe (befitting isn’t it) Stadium shows how far the game has gone in becoming all inclusive. Sloane Stephens, the last American to win the Open in 2017, took on rising star Coco Gauff. Experience of the former key in victory over the later. Sloane’s serving accuracy was impeccable(85% on first serve). One of the ways in which she serves is to take the power off it and concentrate on the accuracy. Sometimes players sacrifice accuracy for speed(speed kills don’t overspeed on the roads hey)) with all the hype which comes with having a speedy serve. Check out first point on the clip 1-0(30-15). Stephens did her homework on Cori. The key to subduing the teenager is to keep her on the baseline in the majority of the rallies and she did just that. Watch 2-1 first point first set. Over to Coco, her serving was in relative terms very good(75% on first serve) and she packs some punch when serving. Check out 3-3(40-15). I may have been on her case about her groundstroke game from the baseline, she does pull out winners every once in a while but not consistently enough for my liking. Sloane edged out a relatively tight first set 6-4 by just one break.
Second set started competitively enough, competent overhead at 1-1(15-15) setting the set alight early on. I got to be honest with you, letting the ball bounce was not a good idea by Coco. When you do that you sell the opponent time to recover into a position to cause problems for you. Fortunately like I said she packs a shot for such a small frame. Gauff will look back at 2-1 with her leading 30-0 on Sloane’s serve as the point where she lost it all. Stephens would go on to win the next 5 games of the set to win 6-2 on the back of impressive passing shots like the one on 4-2 deuce. No breaks of serve won by the 21st seeded Gauff in this game which is very disappointing for her team given the great season she has had in 2021. She is learning the game and will surely get to the top of the women’s game one day. Sloane was ruthless in that second set sealing it emphatically with a strong love game on her serve.