I thought this was very impressive today. There were no second thoughts or doubts as to what was being achieved today from Sloane Stephens, she went out there and got it done in superb fashion! Before she walked on court for the final she did her quick-fire interview with ESPN and said “I just want to have fun, enjoy it, and keep the feet moving. I want to enjoy the moment and take it all in,”. Well, she did all that and played out of her nut to boot! Not bad at all! From 2/2 in the first, Keys won only one more game and lost the last 8 for a 6/3 6/0 score line.
Keys found Sloane in the same outstanding form that has got her through the draw this fortnight. Stephens was far too good in all departments! Once again the movement was class, there were always balls coming back, no matter how hard Keys hit it and that is something that she has simply not been used to in NYC! Sloane has so much more to her game than just hustle though. Intelligence, touch, power and consistency are what have completed the resurgence, it is a frightening combo and one that nobody else could match in NYC. The bottom line is when the chips were down Sloane never once buckled and it would have been easy to on several occasions! The level of maturity shown has been worthy of a grand slam champion, remember, she was only two points away from defeat against Venus two nights ago! There has always been the clarity to change things up and think outside the box at the vital stages! Clutch plays!
After Keys netted a forehand on match point there followed a very warm, long embrace at the net, showing that when these two said they were mates they meant it! In a lovely moment, Sloane went back down and sat next to Keys, having just made the emotional trip up the stands to her box. The two chatted and bantered whilst they got the presentation ready! Madison admitted that nerves had got the better of her on the day in her press conference, but she or nobody could/would take this performance off Stephens. Irrespective of the scoreline in the final, it has still been a big two weeks for Keys and she will take a huge amount of confidence from that when she reflects. Sloane was delighted to hear of the $3.8 million prize money, the look on her face when she heard the amount and then commented “it’s a lot of money” with a massive grin! Her cheeky sense of humour and likeable personality only serve to make her an even more popular champion here. Congrats Sloane!
Andy Del Potro