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Stephens routs Keys for US Open title, first Slam crown

photo by AP photo

Sloane Stephens of the United States poses for photo with the championship trophy after beating Madison Keys of the United States in the women\'s singles final of the US Open tennis tournament on Saturday in New York.

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11th-Sep-2017       
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AFP, New York :
Sloane Stephens, sidelined for 11 months by a left foot injury until returning in July, captured her first
Grand Slam title by routing fellow American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0 in Saturday's US Open final.
Stephens took a $3.7 million (3.07 million euros) top prize from the biggest victory of her career, pitted against one of her closest friends in the first all-US final since 2002 on the New York hardcourts.
"I should just retire now," Stephens said. "I'll never be able to top this. Talk about a comeback. Things just have to come together and the past six weeks they really have."
With the 15th victory in her past 17 matches, Stephens became only the fifth unseeded player to win a women's Slam title, although Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko managed the feat at this year's French Open.
The only prior unseeded US Open women's champion was Kim Clijsters, who came back from retirement to take the 2009 title.
"It's incredible," Stephens said. "I had surgery January 23. If sone told me then I'd win the US Open, it's imposssible I'd say, absolutely impossible.
"This journey has been incredible and honestly I wouldn't change it for the world."
Stephens made only six unforced errors in the match to 30 for Keys, who had 18 winners to 10 for the champion.
It was the first final set of a US Open women's championship match where the loser didn't take a game since Chris Evert beat Evonne Goolagong 6-3, 6-0 in 1976.
"I didn't play my best tennis today and I'm disappointed in that but Sloane was very supportive and if there's someone I have to lose to today I'm glad it's her. Sloane is truly one of my favorite people.
"If you told me two months ago I'd be holding a US Open finalist's trophy I'd have been really happy and proud of myself."
Presented with the winner's check, Stephens said, 'That's a lot of money. Wow," but then handed the check envelope to best pal Keys, who she sat next to after the victory rather than on opposite sides of the umpire's chair, to take hold of the winner's trophy.
"Maddie is my best friend on tour," Stephens said. "I told her I wished there could have been a draw. I'm going to support her no matter what and she's going to support me no matter what.
"To stand here with her today is incredible -- that's what really friendship is."
Keys, seeded 15th, and 83rd-ranked Stephens each fought off injuries to reach the title showdown.
Stephens returned at Wimbledon and slid to 957th in world rankings before semi-final runs at US Open tuneups in Toronto and Cincinnati, while Keys underwent her second left wrist surgery after the French Open and won a tuneup title at Stanford.

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