Sloane Stephens Cruises To US Open Title In Only Her Fifth Tournament Of 2017 - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Grand Slam

Sloane Stephens Cruises To US Open Title In Only Her Fifth Tournament Of 2017




Sloane Stephens (

Sloane Stephens produced an almost faultless display to become the lowest-ranked player in history to win the US Open after brushing side a lacklustre Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0, in the final.

The highly anticipated all-American encounter turned into a tale of two different worlds. Less than two months ago Stephens was ranked outside the world’s top 900 due to a lengthy injury absence, but produced her best tennis in the final. In contrast, the higher ranked Keys struggled under the limelight as she hit a costly 30 unforced errors, 24 more than Stephens.


“It’s incredible. I had surgery on January 23rd and if somebody told me then I would win the US Open, I would have said it’s impossible.” Stephens said moments after her triumph.
“This journey has been incredible and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Saturday’s final showdown was a clash between two players that has been compared to each other throughout their careers by numerous tennis figures. Both reside in Florida, both were first time grand slam finalists and both had previously succumbed to injury. Stephens was playing in only her fifth tournament of the year following an 11-month absence due to her foot. Meanwhile, Keys underwent underwent a second surgery on her left wrist shortly after the French Open.

Gracing their presence on the Prestigious Arthur Ashe stadium, which has a capacity of over 23,000 seats, Keys’ nerves triggered a dream start for unseeded Stephens. Whose ability to hit the ball deep in the court frazzled her opponent. At 2-2, Stephens secured her first break of the match following an error-stricken Keys service game, which featured four unforced errors (three on the forehand side and one on the backhand). The nerves were visible from the 15th seed, who produced twelve unforced errors after six games. In contrast, a more composed Stephens maintained a perfect record of none.

The 24-year-old continued to exert her dominance against a frustrated keys. Stephens wasn’t the only problem for her, it was also a right thigh that was strapped. After one point Keys was seen grimacing, sending warning signs to her coach Lindsay Davenport in the crowd.

Embed from Getty Images

Playing a level of tennis that exceeded her current ranking of 83rd in the world, the underdog sealed the first set in a way to sum up their encounter. A deep shot towards the baseline prompting a Keys unforced error.

The anticipated tussle between the two soon turned into the Stephens show as she continued to dominate proceedings in a calm manor. Seemingly unfazed by the prospect of becoming only the third player ranked outside the top 10 to win the US Open since 1975. Taming Keys’ power with a mixture of fearless and delicate shot-making, she broke at the start of the second set with the help of a cross-court forehand winner.

Unbelievably It took 13 games to come and go before Stephens got severely tested. Keys was trying her all to get some momentum in the match, going up 40-0 on her rivals serve. Still, she couldn’t prevail as the 24-year-old fought back to move to a game away from victory. Battling her way across the finish line, two championship points bit the dust before Stephens triumphed with the help of a below-par Keys forehand slamming into the net.

“I should just retire now. I told Maddie that I am not going to be able to top this.” Joked Stephens, who was ranked as low as 934th in the world less than two months ago.
“I just know that after surgery I worked super hard to get back (to the tour). I just tried to keep the best attitude, I had the best team. Things just have to come together and the last five, six weeks they really have.”

One champion, two friends

Embed from Getty Images

As Stephens began to realise her achievement, the friendship between the two was on full display. Moments before the final, Keys said “who better than to be out there with a friend” when talking about playing her compatriot. A sentiment both shared after the match. Laughing and joking next to each other before the trophy ceremony got underway.

“Sloane is truly one of my favourite people and to get to play her was really special,” A disappointed Keys said. “Obviously I didn’t play my best tennis today and I’m disappointed, but Sloane is the greatest friend that she is very supportive. If there was somebody who I had to lose to today, I’m glad it’s her.”

Stephens will now be rank to 17th in the world following her triumph in New York. She exits the tournament with a prize money total of $3.7 Million.

Grand Slam

Grand Slam Matches Among 38 Suspicious Betting Alerts Over Past Three Months

The body is charge of monitoring match-fixing in the sport has issued their latest findings.




The International Tennis Integrity Agency has confirmed they have received ‘match alerts’ concerning a quartet of matches which took place at Grand Slam tournaments during the third quarter of 2021.


Two matches played at Wimbledon and a further two which took place at the US Open were flagged up, according to their quarterly report which was public on Tuesday. The names of the individuals involved in those matches are not made public whilst the ITIA investigate the matter. The alerts are received through their confidential Memoranda of Understanding with the regulated betting industry.

A total of 38 betting alerts were issued to the ITIA during the third quarter with the most coming from matches played on the Challenger Tour (13). There were also nine suspicious matches from ITF $25,000 tournaments on the men’s Tour and another seven linked to $15,000 events. To put that into context the women’s ITF Tour reported a total of three overall.

“It is important to note that an alert on its own is not evidence of match fixing,” the ITIA stated in their report.
“Unusual betting patterns can occur for many reasons other than match fixing – for example incorrect odds-setting; well-informed betting; player fitness, fatigue or form; playing conditions and personal circumstances.”

Five players have been sanctioned within the past three months for match-fixing offences with the most high-profile being Temur Ismailov from Uzbekistan. Ismailov, who reached a ranking high of 397th in 2016, was issued with a life ban after being found guilty of offences in addition to another suspension he was already serving.

The ITIA has also provisionally suspended six Moroccans and one Pervian player in connection with possible violations of anti-corruption rules.

The ITIA was created by the international governing bodies to investigate allegations against players and hand out sanctions. It is currently in the process of merging with the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) and will oversee the global administration of the TADP from January 1st if it receives Board approval.

Number of alerts (third quarter of 2021 only)

  • Wimbledon: 2
  • US Open: 2
  • ATP Challenger: 13
  • ATP World Tour: 250 1
  • Davis Cup: 1
  • M25 Men’s – World Tennis Tour: 9
  • M15 Men’s – World Tennis Tour: 7
  • W15 Women’s – World Tennis Tour: 2
  • W80 Women’s – World Tennis Tour: 1


Continue Reading


Numbers: On The Unpredictability Of Women’s Grand Slam Tournaments

Over the past four years, every major tournament has been a hunting ground for new players, a sign of discontinuity at the top.





54 – the number of WTA players who’ve reached the quarterfinals at least once in the past 12 Slam tournaments. 

Tennis experts and fans have often pointed out that men’s tennis hasn’t had much of a change of the guard in terms of big tournament winners, generally providing the same face-offs between players in the final rounds. At the same time, the last seasons of the WTA Tour have repeatedly been criticized for not providing any champions the public could become used to due to the steady turnover of winners and players competing in the last rounds of the most prestigious tournaments. To better understand if these assumptions are actually justified, we analysed the Slam draws from the past three years (starting with the 2018 US Open) and listed all the players (male and female) who reached a Major quarterfinal at least once, in an attempt to understand the differences between what’s going on the ATP and WTA tours.


41 male players have reached the quarterfinals of a Slam, while on the WTA circuit the 96 available slots have been occupied by no fewer than 54 different tennis players. We can also see this same discrepancy by looking at some other stats on the number of players to make it through only once to a Major quarterfinal: on the male tour, in the timeframe considered (the last twelve Slams played), there were 17 players, while in the female one the number rose to 21. The women whose only accomplishment was to reach one semi-final are over twice as many as the men who did the same: some of the male players are Pouille, Karatsev and Hurkacz, while the women’s list includes Sevastova, Anisimova, Strycova, Podoroska, Zidansek and Kerber.

The greatest difference between the two tours, however, can be found in the number of players who get past the semi-finals. There have only been four major tournament winners among ATP players in the past three calendar years: Djokovic (the Serbian won 7 times), Nadal (2), Thiem, and Medvedev. Among WTA players, on the other hand, there have been as many as eight different Slam tournament champions:  Osaka (a four-time winner), Barty (2), Halep, Andreescu, Kenin, Swiatek, Krejcikova, and Raducanu.

Del Potro, Zverev, Federer, Berrettini and Tsistipas were the only male players to get to the finals, but there were no fewer than nine female players achieving the same result: Serena Williams (three times), Kvitova, Vondrousova, Muguruza, Azarenka, Brady, Pavlyuchenkova, Pliskova, and Fernandez. “One-time-winners” aren’t easy to find among male players, since all four major tournament-winners (Djokovic, Nadal, Thiem and Medvedev) have done well in several other Slams, which isn’t the case amongst the female players. In the eleven Slams that we’re analysing, two players (Andreescu and Raducanu) didn’t get any other important results other than their wins; in their case, if truth be told, the explanation to this probably lies in their very young age, and in the injuries they sustained, making their “isolated” wins more than understandable.

This fact should, however, be considered together with the cases of three other female players (Krejicikova, Swiatek and Kenin) who, in addition to their finals victory, only reached the quarterfinals once. The absence of continuity in today’s strongest female circuit-players can be inferred from an additional statistic:  among male players in the past three years, Djokovic (10 times), Nadal (9), Federer (5), Thiem (5), Zverev (6), and Medvedev (5) got through to Major tournament quarterfinals at least five times, but amongst the female players only Serena Williams (6) and Barty (6) did the same.

Further confirmation of what we uncovered can be found by looking into the players in the top positions of the ATP and WTA rankings. Among the men, after the 2018 US Open, the only players who reached the first position are Djokovic and Nadal; meanwhile, Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Rublev have reached the Top 5 for the first time in the past three years. And let’s not forget Berrettini, Schwartzman, Bautista Agut, Shapovalov, and Ruud, who also made their debut in the Top 10.

In the WTA rankings, on the other hand, these past 36 months have seen Halep, Osaka and current number 1 Barty pass the queen’s crown around; compared to the men’s circuit, even more players have ascended to the Top 5 for the first time: Sabalenka, Andreescu, Bencic, Kenin. There are “only” two players, Swiatek and Krejcikova, who’ve gotten through to the first ten positions of the ranking in the time frame we’ve been looking at.

In conclusion, the tennis élite has a very different profile in the two tours. It’s a difference that is bound to be reduced as the likes of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic get older: but will the advent of new rivalries at the top be able to preserve the sport’s popularity?

Article by Ferruccio Roberti; translated by Giulia Bosatra; edited by Tommaso Villa

Continue Reading

Grand Slam

REPORT: Australian Open To Hold Qualifying In The Middle East During Build Up To Christmas

Provisional plans of how the first Grand Slam tournament of 2022 will take place has emerged.




It is understood that the Australian Open will hold their qualifying tournaments outside of the country for a second year in a row, according to information obtained by The Daily Mail and The Times newspapers.


Players hoping to secure their spot in the main draw of the Grand Slam are likely to be forced to miss out on the chance of celebrating Christmas on December 25th. According to the provisional plan, the event will likely conclude on December 24th and then players will have to travel to Australia afterwards via charter flights.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are set to be the venues which will hold the men’s and women’s competitions. Both of those cities also held the qualifying event for this year’s Australian Open but in January. However, in 2022 the start date of the Grand Slam will revert back to its original time shot and therefore qualifying will have to take place earlier.

It is also understood that the players who already have secured a spot in the main draw of the Grand Slam will also have their Christmas plans affected. Health officials in Melbourne want those participating in warm-up events in the country prior to the Grand Slam to first spend time in a ‘control bubble’ where they will be allowed to practice and train.

Criag Tiley, who is the tournament director of the Australian Open, has previously suggested that players who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 could have less restrictions placed upon them.

“There will be different conditions for vaccinated versus unvaccinated,’ Tiley told The Controllables podcast in August. ‘If the conditions are vastly different it’s probably better to be vaccinated then you don’t have those different conditions.’

The plans are part of Tennis Australia’s COVID-19 protocol. The country currently has one of the world’s longest border closures related to the pandemic and is closed for most arrivals. Those who are allowed in are required to enter a 14-day quarantine or something similar which has been authorised by health authorities.

Recently the coach of world No.1 Ash Barty has said she may miss the season-ending WTA Finals with one of the reasons being due to Australia’s travel policy. Craig Tyzzer told reporters that Barty is wary that arriving late back in her home country and having to undergo quarantine will have a knock on effect on her off-season training.

The Australian Open main draw will start on January 17th.

Continue Reading