For Titlist Sloane Stephens, The Wait Ends in Washington
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
The wait is finally over for Sloane Stephens as she claimed her maiden WTA title by defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final of the Citi Open.
The American was competing in her first WTA final in Washington DC but the nerves didn’t get to the world number 35 who romped home to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over her Russian opponent. It has been a long time coming for Stephens who despite showing a lot of promise, had failed to get over this benchmark. Now with a title under her belt, the 22-year-old can kick on as she tries to regain a top 20 place. She will move up to number 30 in the new WTA rankings.
“I just went out there and tried to play the best I could,” Stephens told reporters afterwards. “I think I executed my game very well today – it was just a really good day for me.”
It sure was a good day for Sloane who needed just over an hour to dispatch Pavlyuchenkova for the loss of only three games. The American survived a considerable amount of pressure in her opening service game before going on to be only broken once in the entire match.
“It’s great to win this first title – I haven’t even thought about my next goal yet,” Stephens said. “First I’m going to celebrate, though! I’m going to the Ethiopian restaurant I’ve been going to all week.”
“Last year I was going through a learning process. I learned a lot about myself. And there’s still a lot of room to grow. Sometimes you have to go through the process. To get to this place, to get to this beautiful trophy, I had to go through a lot, but at the end of the day it was definitely worth it.”
In the doubles, fourth seeds Belinda Bencic and Kristina Mladenovic capped off a great week by defeating Lara Arruabarrena and Andreja Klepac in the final 7-5, 7-6(7). It was their first title together.