Defending champion, Sloane Stephens, eased into the quarterfinals of the US Open with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Belgian Elise Mertens on Sunday.
Stephens, who has not dropped a set in four matches at Flushing Meadows this year, lost to Mertens at the Cincinnati warm-up last month, but was never in danger of suffering a repeat as she wrapped up the win in one hour and 26 minutes.
“(Mertens) beat me two weeks ago so I knew that I had to come here and fight and do my best,” Stephens said, adding: “I played a solid match, so I couldn’t really ask for any more.”
The American struck 17 winners and controlled play from the baseline, ran relentlessly to extend the points, dominated in the longer rallies and was also helped by her opponent’s struggles on serve.
Stephen told reporters: “I think just like I always say, get your racket on it, make a play on the ball, make your opponent play an extra ball; that’s the most important thing to me.
“Sometimes it doesn’t have to be the best shot, but making them play another shot, you might get another opportunity. I worked really hard on that.”