Serena Williams celebrates winning her Women’s Singles third round match against Sloane Stephens at the 2020 US Open on Sept. 05, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City.
What looked like an upset in the making turned into another victory for Serena Williams as she won the all-American and all-Olympian third-round match over Sloane Stephens at the US Open.
No. 3 Williams, a four-time Olympic gold medalist, continued her march toward what would be a record-tying 24th Grand Slam victory with the 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over No. 26 Stephens, a 2016 Olympian. This was the seventh meeting between the rivals, with Williams now holding a 6-1 lifetime advantage.
In the first set it appeared Stephens, the 2017 US Open champ, may get her first victory over Williams since 2013. Stephens was methodical as she broke twice. She was able to move Williams corner to corner, often forcing Williams into a backhand she struggled to land. Williams had to work hard for every point, with Stephens winning a majority of points on long rallies.
In the second set, Williams was able to drive more balls down the middle and force Stephens to move. Williams also tightened up her serve, and had 12 aces in the match against none for Stephens. Williams returned the favor by winning two breaks to tie up the match.
The final set was a back-and-forth affair until the fourth game when Williams broke. Williams was noticeably sharper and playing with more power. Williams then broke again in the eighth game to finish off the comeback. Coming back is nothing new for Williams, who won her 43rd match after losing the first set.
With no fans allowed in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the stands were veritably packed with Grand Slam champions, including No. 2 Sofia Kenin, who was taking on No. 27 Ons Jabeur in the final match of the day. Williams, Kenin and No. 7 Madison Keys are the top-ranked Team USA women left in the field, with Keys set to take on France’s Alize Cornet opposite Kenin’s match on Saturday evening.
No. 28 Jennifer Brady matched her career best by advancing to the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Caroline Garcia. No. 22 Amanda Anisimova lost 3-6, 1-6 to Maria Sakkari, while 18-year-old Caty McNally’s exciting run also came to an end with a 5-7, 1-6 loss to Elise Mertens.
In men’s singles, No. 19 Taylor Fritz fell in five sets to Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, leaving Frances Tiafoe as the lone American man left in the field with his match later Saturday afternoon.