Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens credited her opponent, Serena Williams, for raising her level and playing better tennis during their third round match at the US Open on Saturday. Stephens won the first set 6-2, but the 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams bounced back to win the next two sets by the same scoreline and advance to the fourth round.
Sloane Stephens says Serena Williams played better and hopes she gets to 24 Slams
Speaking after her match, Stephens complimented her opponent for playing better on the day. "Yeah, I thought we played a good match.
Obviously she raised her level and she started serving a bit better. Overall I didn't think I did anything wrong necessarily. Tried to stay in the match as best I could. Yeah, she just played better today.. Yeah, I thought she raised her level on her serve.
Obviously she has one of the greatest serves in the game. It's really difficult to read." Serena Williams is now four matches away from tying the record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, currently held by Australia's Margaret Court.
Stephens hopes her compatriot gets the record eventually, but said she wasn't in a position to discuss if the huge expectations caused a problem for her. "I think only she can tell you that. I honestly am not in that position; nor anywhere close to that, so I could not tell you what that burden is.
Like I said, we all hope she gets to it. If she is feeling pressure, I hope she releases it and gets to 24." On her own future, the former US Open champion Sloane Stephens added that she hopes to be able to build on her game and confidence for the tournaments ahead.
"I got two good matches in. Obviously not playing after five months, a long time off, difficult to kind of know how you're going to come back. Obviously Lexington and Cincinnati weren't what I had hoped for. But here just kind of getting some matches under my belt, knowing that I have a few more tournaments left to play, I'm just going to go out and get after it, and hopefully kind of build on this and keep going into Europe." (Image Credit - US Open)