Tennis: Sloane won't moan despite early Citi Open exit

After a shocking defeat in the second round of the Citi Open, US player Sloane Stephens is hoping that "things will connect" as she prepares for her US Open title defence.
After a shocking defeat in the second round of the Citi Open, US player Sloane Stephens is hoping that "things will connect" as she prepares for her US Open title defence. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • Sloane Stephens is hoping "things will connect" for her soon as she prepares for her US Open title defence, after a shock 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 defeat by German Andrea Petkovic in the second round of the Citi Open on Wednesday.

The second seed's exit left the event without its two main draws after Caroline Wozniacki pulled out on Tuesday with a leg injury.

"I didn't serve great, but that's not what lost me the match. She just played better than me," said Stephens. "I enjoy being on hard court, so hopefully some things will connect in the next few weeks leading into the US Open… just focus on playing my game, executing better, just getting some more matches."

After a two-set, yet workmanlike, victory over fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in her opener, she strolled through the first set against Petkovic.

But the world No. 3 ran into considerably more resistance in the second set as Petkovic dug in, secured a key break before holding serve to level the match.

The 91st-ranked German dictated play in the third set, breaking Stephens twice, and closed out the match with her second break.

The 30-year-old Petkovic faced three break points through the first two sets and lost each one but, in the third, she applied all the pressure without facing a break point.

In the men's draw, three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray collected the biggest victory since his injury comeback on Wednesday. The Scot, sidelined by a right hip injury for 11 months until his return in June, ousted fourth seed Kyle Edmund 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 6-4 to reach the third round.

"That has been my best win since I started playing again," Murray said. "It's a great win. It'll give me more confidence going forward."

At the Silicon Valley Classic, Johanna Konta followed up her stunning 6-1, 6-0 win over 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams with another brisk triumph on Wednesday. Konta, who won her first WTA title at this event in 2016, beat American teenager Sofia Kenin 6-1, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals in San Jose, California.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2018, with the headline 'Sloane won't moan despite early Citi Open exit'. Print Edition | Subscribe