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Pro Media & News

Sloane Stephens wins in Guadalajara for first title in four years

Victoria Chiesa | February 27, 2022

For the first time in nearly four years, Sloane Stephens is leaving a WTA tournament with a trophy.

 

Seeded sixth last week at the WTA 250 in Guadalajara, Mexico, Stephens won five matches to capture her seventh career WTA title, capping the run with a a 7-5, 1-6, 6-2 win over Czech Marie Bouzkova in Sunday's final. 

 

Stephens hadn't played a tour-level final since playing for the trophy at the season-ending WTA Finals in 2018, and last won a title at the Miami Open earlier that spring. The former world No. 3 came to Gaudalajara having lost her only match of the season—a first-round defeat to reigning Open winner Emma Raducanu at the Australian Open—and ranked No. 57, but leaves on the upswing and back at world No. 39. 

 

It's also Stephens' second career win in Mexico, as she previously triumphed in Acapulco back in 2016.

"It’s the beginning of the season, so there’s still a lot of tennis to be played, but I’m excited to be able to put some matches together," Stephens said in victory. "Excited that I was able to do that, get a title, and hopefully continue on with that momentum.

 

"I think I prepared all last year, I committed to training and my fitness and everything. Obviously I didn’t get results right away, but now seeing the fruits of that labor blossom is nice.

 

"I still want to get back to where I was, that’s still really important to me. I think it’s possible, it’s doable, so I’m really excited about that."

 

Having reunited with longtime coach Kamau Murray ahead of the event, Stephens opened her tournament with a victory over 14-year-old qualifier Brenda Fruhvirtova in the first round—at No. 395, the Czech is the youngest player ranked inside the WTA's Top 1000—and followed that up with a straight-sets win over France's Chloe Paquet to reach the quarterfinals. She faced much more adversity in the last three rounds: she came from a set down to beat former Top 20 player Daria Saville of Australia (née Gavrilova) in the last eight, and benefitted from a retirement by Anna Kalinskaya due to a back injury after they split sets in the semifinals. 

 

She came from 4-1 down in the first set in eventually beating Bouzkova in a championship match that lasted 2 hours, 28 minutes. Bouzkova was bidding for her first career WTA title in her third appearance in a final.

Stephens is the third American to win a WTA singles title this year, joining Amanda Anisimova (Melbourne 1) and Madison Keys (Adelaide 2) during the Australian swing. U.S. women also swept the titles in Guadalajara as Kaitlyn Christian partnered Lidziya Marozava of Belarus to win the doubles crown by the all-Chinese pairing of Wang Xinyu and Zhu Lin 7-5, 6-3.

 

Christian, 30, was 0-5 in her previous appearances in WTA doubles finals, and the USC alum is best known off the court as Emma Stone's tennis double in the 2017 film "Battle of the Sexes," in which Stone played Billie Jean King.

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