Home favorite and the in-form Sloane Stephens started her US Open campaign on a positive note as she came through a very tough first round opponent in Roberta Vinci, the 2015 finalist. Wasting her chances in the first set, Vinci would rue her missed opportunities as the American eventually triumphed in straight sets, progressing to the second round where she would face 11th seed Dominika Cibulkova.
Stephens steals the tight first set 7-5
Stephens came into the match firing on all cylinders as three strong winners helped the American to get the service hold in the opening game. Vinci followed suit as she was even more impressive, holding her serve to love as she got herself onto the scoreboard. With the home support, Stephens prevailed in an eight-minute game and held her serve after saving an incredible three break points to keep the match on serve and prevented Vinci from taking the lead.
Saving two game points along the way, the American was solid in her baseline game and was destructive in her play, outclassing the Italian in groundstroke rallies as Vinci was the first to play a loose game, allowing Stephens to make the first breakthrough and break serve for the first time. Nonetheless, the former finalist broke straight back in the next game, coming from 30-0 down to do so.
After several comfortable services holds for both players, it was the veteran who almost took the lead in the ninth game but failed to convert a break point as Stephens stood firm and showed some nerves of steel to hold onto her serve, placing herself just one game away from winning the first set at 5-4. Vinci then had to fend off a set point while serving to stay in the set, triumphing in the nervy game to level the scores.
The Italian would rue her backhand unforced error on break point at 5-5 because Stephens went on to hold her serve in a tight game before Vinci threw away a 30-15 lead to get broken at the most crucial moment, allowing the American to steal the first set 7-5 after 58 minutes of play.
Stephens strolls to the victory
Carrying over the momentum from the first set into the second, Stephens eased to a comfortable service hold in the opening game as she looked on course for the win. Stepping up her level of play and firing winners after winners, the Toronto and Cincinnati semi-finalist strolled to break Vinci’s serve and led by a set and a break. Stephens then won her seventh consecutive point on serve to consolidate the break, opening up a formidable 3-0 lead in the second set.
Inconsistent forehands by the Italian saw her fall behind a double break but she finally got herself onto the scoreboard by breaking straight back to love with the help of a double fault by Stephens on break point. However, Vinci was unable to keep up her high level of play as unforced errors continued to plague her, allowing Stephens to edge closer to victory. Serving for the match, the American came from 0-30 down to successfully hold her serve and clinched the win after 1 hour and 21 minutes of play.