Anna Kalinskaya kicks off U.S. Open run by bouncing out Sloane Stephens


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Anna Kalinskaya kicks off U.S. Open run by bouncing out Sloane Stephens

Questions arise how a player who's won only one doubles title on the WTA tour this May with partner Viktoria Kuzmova can defeat a top ranked player who has six WTA singles titles to her resume with one being a U.S.

Open title a few years ago. It can happen 'on any given day' the saying goes. "Her ground strokes are there", tennis commentator Chanda Rubin had said about Kalinskaya in the first set when the 20-year-old Russian made surprising returns on Sloane Stephens leaving her mystified.

She had good rallies the former Open champ did and at times with Kalinskaya seems a bit worried when the opening set was tied at 4-all. It seemed like Stephens had a handle on it all as her team looked on in the stands. But Kalinskaya had many of the answers and with Stephens popping unforced errors here and there, this created a rocky possible victory road for her.

She had tried at each turn of games to make things count on her side. But it was game after game she continually looked worried, wiping her mouth with her wristband. The Russian just had come back power after an unforced error and earned her one set victory.

But Stephens began to look hopeful and lead in the second set just by a break of 3-2. She was over the limit in unforced errors having 24 only to Kalinskaya's 11 and at that point a dodgy feeling loomed over the Stephens' team and her newly re-acquired coach Kamau Murray.

"Kalinskaya has not made it easy," Chanda Rubin had commented. Kalinskaya was hitting down the liners with ease and at points Stephens was gettng relaxed winners as a ball challenge was just a slither 'in' as she clenched her fist in relief.

But from there the game took a nasty turn on Stephens and the young Russian kept her unforced errors to a minimum, easily blasting winners and won the set and match 6-3, 6-4. Stephens is out in the first round but she knows now to not take anything for granted and has to re-group her strategies along with her newly returning coach and team to come up with victories now for the remainder of the season.