MIAMI, FL (March 21, 2013) – A day after celebrating her 20th birthday, American Sloane Stephens fought back from what could have been a devastating first set bagel, to eventually defeat world No. 64 Olga Govortsova in the second round of the Sony Open, 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Despite getting broken three times in the first set, Stephens admitted that she didn’t play terribly in the first set. She believed a combination of her opponent’s elevated play and her own depressed energy level added to the tension.
“I wasn’t playing that great. I mean, it’s not that I wasn’t playing great — I was asleep out there. I definitely just needed to wake up and start playing,” Stephens said. “I thought I played some good points even in the first set when I was not there … Definitely she played she played actually really well. It wasn’t all just me, but she was playing some good tennis.”
After closing out the first set winning only 30% of her first serves, the momentum shifted in Stephens’ favor and her confidence returned.
“I think after I won a game in the second set I was much better and I thought, ‘I’m just going to go ahead and play.’”
Stephens went on to joke how a player ranked as high as world No. 16 could possibly suffer such a setback in a match.
“I don’t know how I’m ranked as high as I am, losing a set 6 0. Like that’s insane. Definitely tough experience, but it’s nice to win the next two sets.”
Earlier this year, Stephens was a surprise semifinalist at the Australian Open – en route defeating Serena Williams – and the run propelled her into the top 20 for the first time in her career. With the international spotlight on the then-teenager, Stephens only won one match in her next three tournaments, until Miami today.
“It just feels good to get a win after having some tough losses after Australia,” said Stephens. “I was telling my mom earlier: … ‘Last year I played (four) matches in a row to get to the third round (including qualification) … and now I won one (match) and I’m in the third round. It’s definitely an experience (with) how things change in a year, it’s obviously very crazy.”
Despite the hectic schedule and new commitments, Stephens is satisfied with her adjusted life while she looks for the right balance.
“It’s definitely tough (with) the way I’m living now, compared to what I was doing before … It definitely feels like every day runs into each other and there is not enough time in the day, and it’s stressful. It’s tough, but I’m getting the hang of it. I mean, I think anyone would die to change places with me, so I’m just happy where I’m at.”
(Photo: Getty Images)