Fri, May 30, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Stephens lifts US morale with win

Reuters, PARIS

In the absence of the Williams sisters, 15th seed Sloane Stephens raised US morale at the French Open yesterday by easing past Slovenian Polona Hercog 6-1, 6-3 to reach the third round.

Stephens followed her teenage compatriot Taylor Townsend, 18, who on Wednesday became the youngest player to go past the second round at Roland Garros since 2009, on the day world No. 1 Serena Williams and her elder sister Venus were knocked out.

The 21-year-old Stephens blazed through the opening set before running into a spot of bother midway through the second as Hercog upped her game, but the American ended the contest on her second match point with a crosscourt forehand winner.

She is next to face Russian 22nd seed Ekaterina Makarova or compatriot Coco Vandeweghe.

Sixth seed Jelena Jankovic proved strong on serve to hold off Japan’s Kurumi Nara, who collapsed in the second set to a 7-5, 6-0 defeat by the Serb, who is a three-time semi-finalist in Paris.

“There are still a lot of great players in the draw, every round is going to be tough. The opponents get more and more difficult,” Jankovic said.

Next up for the former world No. 1 is Brazil’s Teliana Pereira or Romanian 26th seed Sorana Cirstea.

Former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, the Russian 27th seed, labored to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 win over Italian Camila Giorgi to set up a meeting with either Czech fifth seed Petra Kvitova or New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic.

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