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By Erik Gudris | Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sloane Stephens Citi Open

New coach Tommy Hogstedt couldn't help Sloane Stephens avoid an early round exit at the Citi Open.

Photo Source: AP

In a first-time meeting between two American stars at the Citi Open, Christina McHale moved past Sloane Stephens in Washington D.C.

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The No. 4 seed Stephens, who recently parted ways with former coach Paul Annacone, found herself in trouble early against the unseeded McHale who won the opening set 6-4.

Stephens recovered in the second set. After a Mchale double fault, Stephens would go on to serve out the set 6-4. Yet the final set would go all in the direction of McHale.

With Stephens unable to find her range in the final set, including just winning four points total on her serve, McHale easily ran away with the decider. Soon, McHale celebrated the 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 victory.

This is the second straight opening round loss for Stephens. She was upset in the first round of Wimbledon by Maria Kirilenko.

Top seed Lucie Safarova exited the Citi Open in Washington D.C. earlier than expected also on Tuesday.

The recent Wimbledon semifinalist squared off against France's Kristina Mladenovic in the first round. Safarova looked in control early after winning the opening set and tied at 3-all in the second. But after the Frenchwoman held and then broke Safarova's serve for the first set, the momentum changed as Mladenovic won the second set.

Mladenovic, though falling behind early in the decider, reeled off five of the last six games to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

This is the third time Safarova has been an event's top seed only to lose in the opening round. That also occurred in 2006 at Forest Hills and 2013 in Istanbul.

Mladenovic next faces American qualifier Taylor Townsend.


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