Volvo Car Open 2021: Sloane Stephens vs Madison Keys – Preview, Head-to-Head & Prediction

Published 04/07/2021, 3:08 AM EDT
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 01: Sloane Stephens of USA looks dejected in her match against Johanna Konta of Great Britain during day three of the 2019 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena on January 01, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)


The WTA clay-court swing is off to a flying start at the Charleston Open 2021, and an all-out American battle is scheduled up ahead. Former World No. 3, Sloane Stephens, will take on eighth seed and defending champion, Madison Keys, in the second round.

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Both the players have had a disappointing start to this year. While Sloane has a 2-8 win-loss record so far, Madison has a 2-5 record. Thus, the Charleston Open or the Volvo Car Open could be a turning point for one of the two Americans.

Interestingly, the 2017 US Open champion, Sloane, succumbed to an opening-round loss in her first four tournaments, including at the Australian Open 2021. However, she gained her first victory in Miami and second in South Carolina at the Charleston Open.

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NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 09: Sloane Stephens of the United States poses with the championship trophy during the trophy presentation after the Women’s Singles finals match on Day Thirteen of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 9, 2017, in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Sloane Stephens defeated Madison Keys in the second set with a score of 6-3, 6-0. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Similarly, the 26-year-old American, Keys, was unable to get past the second round in her first two tournaments. She also lost in the opening round at the Miami Masters.

The duo does need a big win to get in the rhythm for the season. And considering past battles, this matchup is unlikely to go down without a fight.

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Sloane Stephens vs Madison Keys: Head-to-Head

Sloane Stephens leads the head-to-head battle 3-1 against Madison Keys. Her wins include the 2015 Sony Open Tennis R32, 2017 US Open Final, and the 2018 French Open Semi-final.

As extraordinary as those wins are, the 28-year-old cleared them all in straight sets. However, Madison registered her first win against Sloane last year in the Volvo Car Open quarterfinals. Could she move up to 3-2 in the tally?

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Stephens vs Keys: Prediction

Both the Americans are looking forward to finding consistency in their game, and this matchup will help them do so.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 10: Madison Keys of the United States celebrates winning her quarterfinal match against Danielle Collins of the United States during day five of the 2020 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena on January 10, 2020, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Without a doubt, Keys will open as the clear favorite for the match as the defending champion and considering her higher WTA ranking. Additionally, her strong arm and swift movement around the court can help the World No. 24 get the better of her opponent.

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But Stephens is more experienced and accomplished, and she would go all-in at this match. Her big serve and close lines returns will put Keys to the test.

Comparatively, Madison is better in terms of fitness, whereas Sloane has the upper hand in terms of strategy. Thus, it will be interesting to see which proves to be more crucial in the second round at the Charleston Open.

Prediction: Madison defeats Sloane in straight sets.

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Purav Joshi

590 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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