The American has not had the best start to 2019, though showed some encouraging form in reaching the semifinal on clay in Madrid, and had a comfortable opening round win against Misaki Doi here on Sunday night as she looks to go one step further than her runner-up finish last year.
It looked as if it would be plain sailing for the American early on, as she cruised two a set and a break lead, though a slight wobble and an improvement from the Spaniard saw Sorribes Tormo on the front foot in the second set. However, Stephens was able to rally from a break down three times, claiming a 6-1, 7-6(3) win in an hour and 26 minutes to reach round three.
Stephens survives second set scare to progress into round three
The two had previously played each other in Charleston last month, with Stephens triumphing after two tiebreak sets which took a staggering two hours and 38 minutes to complete, and though today was not quite as difficult, it proved to be not all plain sailing for the former world number three.
The American was returning to Chatrier for the first time since losing the final last year, and made a fast start, breaking Sorribes Tormo twice on her way to building a 4-0 lead. The Spaniard was able to avoid the bagel, holding for 1-4, though she could never really threaten Stevens, who looked imperious on serve, and who broke for a third time, this time to love, to seal the opening set in just 29 minutes.
Much like in the first set, Stephens got off to a storming start, easing to a 3-0 lead with a break of serve. However, the Spaniard came roaring back, taking four straight games as she herself went 4-3 up, taking advantage of some wobbly serving from last year’s runner-up. Stephens would break back for 4-4, though three more breaks followed, with Sorribes Tormo twice failing to serve out the set at 5-4, and then at 6-5. The third seed took control of the ensuing break early on, and though the Spaniard fought back a little, the American eventually claimed the final four of the final five points to seal victory.
Stephens will face Slovenia's Polona Hercog next for a place in the second week.