Sloane Stephens: Hopefully I can get some momentum

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Sloane Stephens: Hopefully I can get some momentum

Reigning champion Sloane Stephens was bundled out of the Miami Open by the unseeded Tatjana Maria in the third round.

Stephens went down in straight sets 3-6, 2-6 in one hour and 33 minutes. She was attempting to defend her title after she defeated Ajla Tomljanovic, Monica Niculescu, Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko on her way to victory last year.

“Today just wasn’t the day. I just played a bad match and she played well, and that's never a good combo," Stephens said following the loss. She struck 17 unforced errors in the opening set, nullifying her 12 winners, compared to 2 from Maria.

It’s the first time Stephens had lost to Maria, having defeated her in both of their prior meetings at Cincinnati last year and at the 2012 US Open.

"She's a great player, she plays with a lot of variations and she's a tricky opponent.

She just played the better match today."

Stephens hasn’t won two matches in a row since she reached the Australian Open fourth round in January. Following that run, Stephens then played in Acapulco and after defeating Pauline Parmentier in the opening round, she then went on to lose to qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Last fortnight at Indian Wells, Stephens lost to Stefanie Voegele convincingly 3-6, 0-6 in the second round, after receiving a bye in the first.

"I'm looking forward to getting back on the clay, my favourite surface. Hopefully, I can get some momentum and try to play some good tennis in the clay court season."