INCREDIBLE! Top-Seed Aryna Sabalenka Battles Past Sloane Stephens at National Bank Open 2021 Round 2

Published 08/11/2021, 4:19 PM EDT
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 6, 2021 Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka celebrates winning her quarter final match against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur REUTERS/Toby Melville


World No. 3 Aryna Sabalenka endured nervy moments in her clash with Sloane Stephens at the Rogers Cup. Despite going down 3-0 in the final set, she mounted an excellent comeback to advance to the third round of the tournament. The final scoreline read 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-4.

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Sabalenka, who reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon Championships earlier this year, survived a tough challenge from Stephens during her preparations for the upcoming US Open.

Aryna Sabalenka holds off Sloane Stephens’ challenge after nervy final set in the National Bank Open

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Sabalenka raced to a 3-0 lead in the first set, using her power game to her advantage. However, Stephens clawed her way back from 4-1 down in the set to tie at 4-4. With no more breaks from either player, the set needed a tiebreaker after they won six games each. Sabalenka took the tie-breaker 7-4 to seal the first set.

In the second set, neither player could force a break in the first eight games, tying the set at 4-4. However, Stephens took initiative and produced a break in the ninth game to lead 5-4. She then served for the set, coming back from 30-0 down to clinch the set with her only break point in the game.

The third set saw a more motivated Stephens as she raced to a 3-0 lead, breaking Sabalenka’s serve twice. However, the tournament’s top seed did not back down, putting together an excellent display of tennis to break the American’s serve twice. She tied the set at 4-4 to keep her hopes of progressing alive.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 6, 2021 Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka reacts during her quarter final match against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Sabalenka didn’t stop there, breaking Stephens’ serve to win her fourth successive game and take a decisive 5-4 lead. Serving for the set, the Belarusian made no mistake, winning the set 6-4 to seal the match.

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What’s next for Sabalenka?

The top seed in the tournament will face Rebecca Marino in the Round of 16. As the World No. 3, Sabalenka looks an overwhelming favorite to progress to the quarterfinals.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 5, 2021 Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka celebrates winning her fourth round match against Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

With players like Olympic bronze medalist Elina Svitolina still to play, Sabalenka’s glory in Toronto isn’t guaranteed. However, she looks a strong favorite given her top billing.

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DIVE DEEPER

Aryna Sabalenka and Karolina Pliskova Create an Astounding Record at Wimbledon Championships 2021 That Even Venus and Serena Williams Couldn’t

2 months ago

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Sanket Nair

610 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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