American Sloane Stephens beat compatriot and friend Madison Keys in two straight sets 6-3 6-0 to win the US Open trophy on Saturday.
It was her first Grand Slam trophy. En route the final, the 24 year-old had beaten Venus Williams in the semi finals.
Playing with much composure than her friend on Saturday , and committing fewer errors, she broke Keys’ serve to go up 3-2 in the first set. She was unstoppable thereafter, closing the set 6-3.
In the second set, she held serve and went ahead to break Keys twice to register a 4-0 lead. She held serve again for a 5-0 lead and clinched the championship on her Opponent’s serve.
Both friends ran to the net for a bear hug after the match, with the champion consoling her defeated friend.
“Madison is one of my best friends on tour. I told her I wish it could be a draw and if it was the other way around she’d do the same. To stand here with her today is incredible, that’s what real friendship is, ” the new champion said later.
“It’s incredible. I honestly had surgery Jan 23 and if someone had told me I’d win the U.S. Open I would have said it’s impossible,” said the unseeded Stephens who, after celebrating, sat down and chatted with Keys.
Keys noted, “Sloane is truly one of my favourite people and to get to play her was really special. Obviously I didn’t play my best tennis today and I was really disappointed but Sloane was very supportive and if there was someone I had to lose to today I‘m glad it’s her.”
In the first all-American U.S. Open women’s final since Serena Williams beat her sister Venus in 2002, Stephens made only six unforced errors to frustrate Keys.
She sealed a straightforward win on her third match point when Keys sent yet another forehand into the net.
Stephens welcomed the biggest victory of her career with a low-key smile, going into the Arthur Ashe Stadium stands to hug her coach, Kamau Murray, before embracing her mother.
Stephens, who will pocket a record $3.7 million check, underwent foot surgery in late January and made her competitive comeback at Wimbledon.
Saying earlier she was simply happy to be running around on courts, Stephens did a lot of running on Saturday to deny the 22-year-old Keys in what turned out to be a one-sided contest.
Stephens played her usual defensive tennis, forcing her opponent to make the extra shot and testing her patience.