The US Open champion thrashed out in the first round of 2018 Australian Open




As the American, welcomed her maiden Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows last year, Sloane Stephens makes an early exit in the at the premier Grand Slam event of the year.

Zhang Shuai denies Sloane Stephens in Melbourne upset

Zhang Shuai denies Sloane Stephens in Melbourne upset

The World Number 13 American lost to China’s Zhang Shuai in three sets. This was the seventh time in a row that she lost after defeating Madison Keys in the final of the US Open last year. She lost Qiang Wang, Christina McHale, Barbora Strycova, Anastasija Sevastova and others and earlier this month Stephens surrendered to Camila Giorgi in Sydney International. Stephens has been struggling with her knee injury which compelled her to withdraw from the Brisbane International.

The American, held the opening set 6-4 in the Margaret Court Arena. In the second set, she was serving for the match at 5-4. However, the Chinese denying to make mistakes and with her powerful ground-strokes, she fought back and moved the set to the tiebreaker and eventually Zhang Shuai wrapped it up 7-6(2) and took the match to the deciding set. Zhang managed to lose just two games in the decider and the Chinese wrapped up the third set 6-2, consequently, she made an advancement to the second round of Australian Open in two hours of time. Post the match Zhang reported, “Margaret Court Arena is really special for me, when I came back here to warm up I was feeling so excited. So I think I was ready today…. I always play against great players on this court. I was very happy to play against Sloane.” She said during the on-court interview.

Both the WTA plays have made their Grand Slam debuts in at the Australian Open. During the 2013 Australian Open, Sloane surpassed Simona Halep in the opening round and she overcame her legendary compatriot, Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. While Zhang in the year 2016 made it to the main draw as a qualifier and ended up being a quarter-finalist as she outplayed Halep and Madison Keys that year.

Zhang will meet either Pauline Parmentier or Denisa Allertova in the second round.

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