On the third day of Australian Open 2019, World No. 5 Sloane Stephens locked horns with her former doubles partner, Timea Babos. The 25-year-old American player won two straight sets to ensure an early exit for her opponent.
At the Rod Laver Arena, the duo faced off in a rather one-sided battle. Stephens had a good understanding about the moves of her former juniors doubles partner and was smart to plan her counter attack. She refrained from creating any opportunity for Babos who was herself struggling to gain the momentum.
Stephens beat Babos by 6-3, 6-1. Although it may seem like the former was dominant throughout the match, Babos actually picked up a little momentum in the second set. If you look at the score, it almost suggests that the latter went down without a fight but there was a lot more than what meets the eye.
In the first set, Babos was evidently frustrated when he slow judgement about the pace and direction of the shots caused her to lose easy points. She managed to win 3 games but it didn’t take long for Stephens to slide her way to the victory.
Sloane Stephens beats Timea Babos in the second round of the Australian Open
However, in the second round, Babos put up a really good fight. She specially worked on syncing her forehand with her foot to work out the best technique to return Stephens’ tricky serves. In fact, she made the latter fight for each point displaying incredible sporting spirit. In fact, at many instances it almost looked like the game will continue for a very long time. Stephens kept the audience at the edge of their seat by carefully executing all her counter strategies and received immense amount of encouragement from the crowd.
Commenting on her former doubles partner’s game, Stephens even said, “We won three junior grand slam doubles together, so I know she’s a very good player and I had to be patient. Her serve is ridiculously good.”
However, at the end of the day, Stephens was the better player who bagged a well-deserved win. She has now moved on to the fourth round and her opponent is yet to be decided.