"Didn't quite seem she was emotionally into it," Tennis Channel's commentator Chanda Rubin had said during a Tennis Channel Live segment. Rubin might have been 'spot on' in the analysis of Sloane Stephens' match with Jelena Ostapenko at Eastbourne.
But everyone says that Stephens is resilient and when she puts her mind to it she can make a comeback anytime. Well, it got scary out there when after the first set Stephens was her usual self, finding the opening court and letting Ostapenko have it.
She was coming up to the net and had volley victories. She was even precisely out rallying the young Latvian at tremendous speeds. "I don't think I played my best game in the first set," Ostapenko admitted. Stephens allowed her only one game during the opening set.
Then the scary part came in set two. Ostapenko beamed with self-confidence and corrected those crazy errors she did in the first set. She was new and improved and blasted forehands, played aggressive coming up to the net and letting Stephens have it.
The Latvian was back with a vengeance and gave the 2017 US Open champ a bagel. Ostapenko was on a roll and kept up her barrage of stinging shots on Stephens sending her running around like a lost soul to struggle to make returns.
She had only scuffled and got 3 games from Ostapenko but that was all she could muster up. Stephens lacklustre game was a little discerning to her fans and the tennis community who knew she could and nearly always did better.
She might have been a bit unskilled since her last grass match was last season at Wimbledon. She'd played doubles with Jack Sock and they didn't come up victors and her opening round singles was with Donna Vekic and again she bowed in straight sets.
Was it the grass season that she felt was giving her the doldrums? Well, she'll snap out of the funk for sure because Wimbledon is near and her mind can't be far away to try and correct those errors and mayhem.
Can she do it? Sure she can in a blink of a few visions of fresh smelling grass she can break that losing omen and be Sloane Stephens again.