Sloane Stephens has progressed to the third round at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2014, defeating her junior doubles partner Timea Babos 6-3 6-1 Wednesday – the straight-forward scoreline doing no justice to the fluctuating battle.
In a brutal first set of extended games and searching rallies, the American won five straight games at 3-all to break open the match. But the No.5 seed faced tough resistance on every point. The first set lasted 56 minutes, longer than Serena Williams’ first-round victory.
There were no secrets or surprises in this battle of ‘frenemies’, with the 25-year-olds winning junior Wimbledon, French and US doubles titles together in 2010.