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Sloane passes Osaka test in WTA Finals

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By Editorial Team

Sloane Stephens had a tough go at it on court following her recent US Open straight set quarterfinal upset against Anastasija Sevastova and a mid-match confrontation with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova where she was able to pull out a victory 6-4 in the third set. Sloane would later go away quietly in the first round of the Kremlin Cup, but things began to turn for her in the WTA Finals held in Singapore Indoor Stadium. 

Sloane has the rare ability to raise her level of play during big matches and turn around extended losing streaks while facing top ranked opponents. This was on full display as she was able to be patient while keeping her composure to pull out a close win in the WTA Finals against the red hot Naomi Osaka 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in the Red Group stage. 

Naomi has been trailblazing the globe since her 2018 US Open win so exhaustion may have played a role in some of her results, but she has been able to reel in some good wins with a finals appearance in the Pan Pacific Open and making the semifinal round in China Open before losing to Anastasija Sevastova 6-4, 6-4.

After the match Sloane was very excited to have pieced together a great while also eager to face Kiki Bertens in the next round.

“No, I kept playing positive and strong,” the world number six told reporters of Sloane’s approach to the deciding set of their Red Group round robin opener.

“I mean, I didn’t play bad in the second. Just kind of got away from me. I tried to regroup as best I could and played just like I was playing before.

“I thought I played a really good match. I played solid from start to finish. Obviously playing someone with a lot of confidence is always a tough task, but I think that I played well and I kept a good attitude. So I was pleased with that.”

Stephens, who won the 2017 U.S. Open after spending 11 months out with a foot injury, said she could sympathize with Osaka after the 21-year-old complained of exhaustion in her two tournament appearances since last month’s triumph in New York.

“Yeah, I mean, I can definitely relate. After the U.S. Open I probably shouldn’t have played the entire rest of the season, because I was so exhausted,” Stephens said.

“I think our situations are a little different. I played like four tournaments after not having played for 11 months, so I was probably more tired than she was.

“But I think I totally understand, and I think that to go play at home in Tokyo was really important for her or her fans, for her country. You can only applaud that,” The American added of Osaka’s run to the Pan Pacific Open final.

“But definitely can relate on being tired and needing to regroup and play — you know, I think she took the next week off.

“She did what was best for her. But I think obviously playing in your home country the only tournament of the year I think is important, and I thought that she did a great job.”

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Stephens and Keys raise the bar in Fed Cup playoff

Ronald Cortes

By Editorial Team

The Fed Cup has come home for the US women’s team to the Alamo state with both Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys in the drivers’ seat.

After the early round defeat to Australia, Madison is anxious to redeem Team USA and position itself in the running for 2020. When asked about the status of the team and anticipation for the weekend, Keys stated,


“We’re playing to stay in World Group I. It’s obviously very important, We were all really bummed about the loss, and we’re looking to walk away with a win after this weekend.”

Chemistry is definitely in favor of the US team as the players and coaches are all very close off the court as friends, but against Switzerland its definitely a business trip.

Coming off a title win in Charleston, Madison is set to keep the momentum going full steam as she prepares to make a decent run toward the French Open later next month.

While title hopes are around the corner for Madison, Sloane is planning on regaining her rhythm and finding her strokes while she competes. Fans shouldn’t be surprised if Sloane goes deep in this year’s French Open as she is able to turn it around on a dime – noting last year’s final run in Paris.

USTA

Stable coaching appears to be Sloane’s biggest challenge now as she must find a suitable replacement after Fed Cup Captain, Kathy Rinaldi, has been filling in recently for Sly Black.

This Fed Cup match should a simple win for the deep high caliber of talent on the US team. Play is scheduled for April 20-21 in San Antonio, Texas with matches aired live on Tennis Channel.

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Pro Tour

Healthy, Tsonga takes on Edmund in Morocco

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is up against top seed Kyle Edmund tomorrow in the Grand Prix Hassan II in Casablanca, Morocco.

Tsonga is having a good start to the season with the exception of an early qualifying loss in Miami. Playing on the red clay surface is definitely a new venture to Tsonga after being off seven months from competitive play.

After his first round win over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Tsonga commented on his form:


“It was my first match on clay in a while. So I’m happy that I won today. I did what I needed to do today and played well during the first set,” said Tsonga, whose last outdoor clay match came at 2017 Roland Garros. “It has been almost two years since I didn’t play on outdoor clay. It’s nice to be back on clay.”

ATP Tour

Perhaps this is the biggest test for Tsonga since his recovery. A win tomorrow could definitely put the Tour on notice while improving his ranking just before going into the red clay stretch and grand slam season.

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Pro Tour

Keys wins 4th title in Charleston

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By Editorial Team

Madison Keys was able to defeat the 5th seed Caroline Wozniacki 7-6, 6-3 today to win her 4th title and 1st tournament win in close to 2 years.

This win against top WTA Tour players is great for Madison’s confidence as she goes into the thick of the clay court season.

Red clay has not been that kind to Madison even after reaching the semifinals last year. 2019 could be the year for a grand slam title, but consistency and health will play a major role in that for Madison.

The first 3 months of this season have been dismal for Madison with little to show in term of wins, but at the Volvo Car Open – her favorite tournament – she was able to overcome major hurdles with big wins over Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki.


“It means so much,” Keys stated in her post-match press conference. “I’ve always loved Charleston. It’s always been one of my favorite tournaments, so to now be able to say that I’ve won the tournament and be on the trophy is really, really special.”
“It’s definitely been a really great week for me, especially after having some really tough losses the last couple of weeks,” Keys continued. “And to be able to really bounce back and have a really good week of training with my coach, Nacho, and then be able to come and win the tournament, it definitely is a very good springboard for heading over to Europe.”

Volvo Car Open

Is it Madison’s year? Fans will have to wait for the French Open and hope that a favorable draw propels her to the end of the second week.

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