“Super Tough Opponent”: Sloane Stephens on Her Taxing Win Over Good Friend Heather Watson at Indian Wells 2021

Published 10/07/2021, 6:30 AM EDT
Sep 1, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Sloane Stephens of the USA after winning the first set against Cori Gauff of the USA on day three of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


Sloane Stephens got off to a great start at the Indian Wells 2021. She made a brilliant comeback against Heather Watson in the first round and defeated her in three sets. The final scoreline of the match was 6(5)-7(7), 7-5, 6-1.

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Even after losing the first set in a close tie-breaker, Sloane Stephens displayed some brilliant skills on the court. She never gave up and dominated the last set completely to advance to the next round of the tournament.

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Sloane Stephens discloses her special bond with Heather Watson

In the post-match interview, Stephens highlighted that she still shares a great bond with Watson. She revealed that the two even used to play juniors together.

“Playing Heather is always a tough match. We grew up playing juniors together, and we’re really good friends,” said Stephens in the interview.

Sep 1, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Sloane Stephens of the USA celebrates after defeating Cori Gauff of the USA. Day three of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Stephens mentioned that it was a really unfortunate moment that the two of them had to face each other in the very first round of the Indian Wells 2021. However, she emphasised that despite their fierce battle on the court, the two are really good buddies off the court.

“Before the tournament, we were talking in the parking lot for an hour about everything, and how we’ve been friends for so long and how we’re able to separate the match and still be friends. Then we ended up playing each other in the first round, so that was unfortunate,” added the 28-year-old.

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“Pleased to have squeaked out a win”- Stephens on surviving a tough match against Watson

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In the same interview, Stephens emphasized that Watson is a really tough opponent and she had to fight very hard for her victory. She also stated that she is really happy as she managed to survive a tough match against her.

Sep 1, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Sloane Stephens of the USA reacts after defeating Cori Gauff of the USA. Day three of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sportsrts

“She’s always a super-tough opponent and I always look forward to playing her. I just competed really well. After the first set, that was disappointing to lose that one, but I felt like it was a battle and I was still in the match. I knew I had to keep fighting and that’s what I did, and I’m just really pleased to have squeaked out a win here,” concluded the former US Open champion.

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After beating Heather Watson, Sloane Stephens will now face her compatriot, Jessica Pegula, in the second round of the Indian Wells 2021. Will she be able to win the tournament this year?

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Anshul Singh

1391 articles

Anshul Singh is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 1000 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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