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By Erik Gudris | @ATNtennis | Thursday, June 3, 2021

 
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Sloane Stephens is finding success on the red clay once again as she upset No. 9 seed Karolina Pliskova to reach the Roland Garros third round.

Photo credit: Getty

After a tough year in her personal life, Sloane Stephens is once again finding success on the red clay of Roland Garros.

The former 2018 finalist secured a convincing 7-5, 6-1 upset win over No. 9 seed Karolina Pliskova to reach the third round.

More: Barty Hobbles Out of Roland Garros

This is Stephens’s first Top 10 win since 2018 when she defeated Pliskova at the WTA Championships.



Both players played the first set very close, yet Pliskova’s multiple unforced errors proved costly for her. Pliskova struck 24 unforced errors in the first set to just 13 for Stephens.

Stephens showed off her better movement on the clay and frequently forced Pliskova to go for too much in her shots. Stephens took control in the second set and broke the big-serving Pliskova three times.

Former world No. 3 Stephens cut down on her errors while Pliskova added to hers. That soon led to Stephens wrapping up the 7-5, 6-1 victory in just 90 minutes.




Before the start of this year, Stephens dealt with personal tragedy off the court. Several family members passed away due to Covid-19, including an aunt, a grandmother, and a grandfather.

Since reaching a career-high ranking of No. 3 a few years ago, the 28-year-old American has struggled to find consistent form since that peak, including winning the 2017 US Open. Now ranked No. 59, Stephens recently had to play qualifying to enter the Italian Open a few weeks ago.

Tennis Express

With a solid win in Paris, Stephens looks ahead to the third round, taking on another seeded Czech player, No. 18 seed Karolina Muchova.

Muchova moved into the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over American qualifier Varvara Lepchenko.

 

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