Iga Swiatek underlines her title credentials with emphatic victory over Sloane Stephens

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Iga Swiatek in action Credit: PA Images
Iga Swiatek in action Credit: PA Images

Iga Swiatek underlined her US Open title credentials as she dismantled 2017 champion Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-2 in just 74 minutes on Thursday.

Despite the impressive scoreline it appears that Swiatek hasn’t gained the control she is accustomed to on the rest of the tour when heavier balls are in use.

Swiatek hit 17 of unforced errors over the course of a match that only lasted 17 games.

Considering that in her best form, entire sets could go by without an error from Swiatek it becomes clear that she isn’t totally confortable with the balls but seems to be adapting quite well.

Apart from a single loose game, Swiatek was near-perfect behind a serve that was purring and it seems that she has at least mastered serving with the troublesome balls.

“I’m pretty happy with my focus today,” Swiatek said on-court after her victory. “I’ve had ups and downs, but here I was pretty solid from the beginning.”

Swiatek has seen the seeds in her section be plucked out of the draw by a string of upsets and next faces one of the giant-killers in Lauren Davis.

Davis absorbed being bagelled in the first set of her second round match against 28th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova and eliminated the Russian 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

The Pole said toungue firmly in cheek that she hoped to meet Serena Williams in the final of the Grand Slam.

“Serena is a great example of knowing that the sky is the limit,” she said. “Hopefully we’re gonna meet in the final.”

Earlier Jessica Pegula ensured she booked a place in the third round at her home Grand Slam with a patient display in a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

Pegula, who recently recovered from long-term injury, will be back out on court later in the day when she teams with Coco Gauff as the second seeds in the women’s doubles.

The American said that she stuck to her gameplan to get her beyond Sasnovich.

“I know she’s had a pretty solid season, especially on hard courts, so I knew it was going to be tough. I just tried to stick to my game plan, it was a little tough with the wind, we both return so well, but I was focusing on what I could do with my service games,” said Pegula.

“People ask me, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re playing singles, doubles and mixed?’ Hey, I was hurt for three or four years, I’m trying to play as much as I can, when I can.”

In other significant results, Belinda Bencic came from behind to beat Sorana Cirstea for the first time and advance to the third round; Victoria Azarenka also eased into Round 3 with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk and Petra Kvitova advances without hitting a ball.

Kvitova advances after Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina withdrew from both the singles and doubles due to illness.

“I think it was a pretty solid match. I felt that I started, you know, really well. I felt like I was in control throughout the match,” Azarenka said after beating Kostyuk.

“I felt a little bit, in the end, got a little bit tight. She ripped some big points, changed it up with some higher balls.

“I definitely could have adjust a little bit better there, but, you know, in the moment I felt that I still played pretty solid and very happy that I was able to finish the match on a strong note.”

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