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27th-May-2015

Sloane Stephens eliminates Venus Williams in first round

By Agency


On day two at Roland Garros, the oldest woman in the draw took on one of her youngest compatriots. It was the much awaited first matchup for Venus Williams, 34, and Sloane Stephens, 22.
Stephens was once considered the girl who would take over the Wiliams sisters' reign if they ever retire, but she has struggled since making the semifinals at the 2013 Australian Open. The 15th-seeded Williams is far from the peak form that helped her win seven Grand Slam titles. On Monday, neither looked like a dominant star.
They battled in the first set, with Stephens eventually winning the tiebreak. In the second set, it was all Stephens. The only hiccup came at break point in the second game, with Williams serving. Her serve startled a pigeon, which in turn startled Stephens. She shrieked. It could have been an ace for Williams, but the point was replayed. Stephens got the break.
She went on to close out the match, 7-6, 6-1. Stephens had 14 unforced errors; Williams had 30. Williams' forehand was falling flat throughout.
Williams issued a statement rather than showing up to the post-match press conference.
"When you arrive at any tournament, you hope you will have a chance to work your way into the event, but I didn't have that opportunity - she just played better than me today," the veteran wrote.
This is the second time in three years that Williams is out after the first round. This is also the fifth time in the past 13 Grand Slams that she is out this early; before that, she was only ousted this early once in 37 Grand Slams.
Stephens, ranked 40th, has reached the fourth round at Roland Garros the past three years. With Monday's win, she becomes only the second woman to defeat both Williams' sisters in Grand Slam tournaments. The other was Lindsay Davenport.
She'll face Heather Watson of Britain in the next round. Watson has won their four previous meetings, including once earlier this year.