Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sloane Stephens advances to Charleston final

Photo by Daniel Ward
Sloane Stephens, seeded 7th at the Volvo Cup Open, advanced to the final today when her semifinal opponent, defending champion Angelique Kerber, retired with a viral illness when the score reached 6-1, 3-0. Kerber, who had her left thigh taped in Miami, took the tape off when she arrived on Daniel Island, and said that it felt good. However, Kerber was unable to push off or even bend during the first set of her match against Stephens. She also appeared quite sluggish. A viral illness, of course, would weaken any already-vulnerable part of her body, which is apparently what happened.

It didn't help Kerber's cause that Stephens performed beautifully, handling the wind with skill and not allowing her opponent's condition to disrupt her rhythm. This is Stephens' sixth trip to Charleston, where, previously, she had won only one match. She will play either 5th seed Sara Errani or qualifier 
(and 2011 runner-up) Elena Vesnina in the final tomorrow.

Photo by Daniel Ward

Prior to the singles match, the first doubles semifinal was played on Billie Jean King Stadium Court, and was won by 3rd seeds Caroline Garcia and Kiki Mladenovic. The French pair defeated Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-3. In the final, Garcia and Mladenovic will play either top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova or Vania King and Alla Kudryavtseva.


Sunny nine said...

i had wished that kerber v stephens had been the final-was looking forward tho to the semi they had instead. but kerber did not seem herself-for me it was the lack of movement in her normal defense and the fact that she seemed to be trying to hit winners quickly to cut down on the rallies. usually she is patient. hopefully she will be better for stuttgart-1st time playing at home after winning a major. i have enjoyed stephens play this week. i like that she is coming forward a lot and she really slides well. i think she said once she liked clay. i have been happy for her with the wins she has had since last summer. i always thought that for a young player, she somewhat got a bad deal from the media clamoring after her when she beat s williams at the ao in 2013. she isn't trying to push for anyone's timetable but her own right now.

Diane said...

Angie was unable to push off and unable to bend. Pretty sure that the illness aggravated her fragile thigh. She just couldn't move.

I wish that Errani-Vesnina had been the final! That match was wonderful in every way. Felt bad that one of them had to lose.

Sloane has looked great this week--very at-home on the clay, and handling the wind like a boss.