Match Review: Sloane Stephens v Francoise Abanda

It was the third day of the Rogers Cup and one of the stand-out matches on Court Centrale saw the Amercian third seed Sloane Stephens begin her tournament campaign with an emphatic 6-0, 6-2 win over home favorite Francoise Abanda from Canada. Even though she won easily, this was not the perfect match from Stephens as after a pretty solid opening set where she was hitting a lot of forehand winners and kept errors relatively low, she had a fast start in the second set but then her level did drop in the last couple of games with some scrappy errors and she crawled over the finish line. For Abanda, today’s match really exposed what she needs to work on as she just did not possess near enough power to trouble Stephens, especially on her serve, despite hitting some precise winners and getting more back in a rally towards the end.

Set 1 

The opener started with rusty errors from Sloane Stephens, which made me question whether this might just be one of those bad days for Stephens but she quickly recovered with some easy power winners to break Francoise Abanda in the opening game. Stephens struggled in her first service game with some loose errors but she saved a break point with a forehand winner before holding and then she whipped some good forehands to get another break and climb to a 4-0 lead. One of the best games of the match came here as it seemed like Abanda was settling in, after previously not having the strength to do anything against Stephens especially on serve, as the Canadian started painting the lines but the third seed finally got the game on her seventh break point before Abanda went away in the final game and Stephens held to love for the 6-0 set.

Set 2

The set started badly for Francoise Abanda, as she probably still had her mind on that mamooth game that just escaped her, and that hurt her later in the set. Abanda hit a double fault and was spraying errors to give Sloane Stephens the break to love in the first game and then the errors continued in the next game as Stephens held to love. The next game was important for Abanda as she started with some errors but then Stephens wasted a break point with an unforced error before Abanda finally got on the board at 2-1. From this point, Stephens game did take a slight dive as she started making some hopeful swipes but that did help her as she took overly big swings on returns which ended up being winners and then Abanda hit a double fault on break point for Stephens to lead 4-1. The break straight back came after a level drop from Stephens but then she broke again for 5-2, after a mamooth game that saw a lot of up-and-down play. The errors didn’t stop as Stephens ended up dragging herself over the finish line for 6-0, 6-2 win after another long game with Stephens being increasingly erratic.

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