Where did Sloane Stephens go in the quarterfinal of the French Open? It was obvious to all that the no. 7 ranked American woman had lost that snap and crackle she had in her four rounds at Roland Garros. She appeared to come into the match with Johanna Konta a bit dazed and perplexed.
The Brit had grabbed the first game and Stephens gathered one, but that was the beginning and end of her victory in the first set. "Sloane just never got her teeth into this match," Seve Weissman, commentator of Tennis Channel had explained.
Despite the crowd's hunger for a great showing from Stephens, it never really happened. The display of performance from both opponents was totally opposite. Jo Konta showed great executions of body shots done with composure and confidence in herself; whereas Stephens showed not enough fight and aggression to take control of the match.
The Brit didn't give her a huge chance either to take over and the games had just wizzled away without the 2017 US Open winner barely putting up a defense. It was just hardly a half hour gone before the Brit closed down the opener at 6-1.
The second set Konta scurried about to smash overheads and make good of the open court to put away winners. Stephens was returning balls without the passion and fortitude she had in all rounds combined but getting to the quarters is a good thing.
She decided to take advantage of the last minutes by blasting a backhand down the line surprising the Brit. At that point it was 'too little, too late' and the Eastbourne resident challenged the point and it was called out.
Konta produced a big smile telling of her success at landing into her first semifinal since two years ago at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships. Each player was quite philosophical about their performance with Konta saying "I was really pleased with the level I played...pleased with each match I've been building, not just here but in the tournaments proceeding..."
the Brit had told ITV by BBC Sports. This is the first British woman in over 30 years to make it to a Roland Garros quarterfinal. She's also said about the surface and Konta that "..She's improved her results on clay, so she's obviously feeling good on the surface..."
the two have met three times this year: once in Brisbane, Rome and now at Roland Garros with Jo Konta winning all of the matches. the Brit takes nothing for granted of her third victory match against Stephens and says that "..dealing with conditions out here and against and opponent like Sloane who can run away with it, I was pleased to get her on the back foot and control the points a little bit."
Stephens met at the net shook hands and cracked a small smile of being a gracious loser and soon was off the court. It was certain that Sloane Stephens wasn't up for this match but going through to the quarterfinals was a positive as she'd did at Wimbledon some six years ago.
She possibly needs time to re-group and get back to the drawing board to conjure up her magic shots and strategies that everyone knows she has but failed to produce this time around.