[CR40] Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. [CR176] Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)
Ranking is not always a true indicator of talent. Mattek-Sands is a much better player than her current rank suggests. In a rivalry where Stephens had a slim lead in their head-to-head, Mattek-Sands was out to prove that she can still compete at a high level. And it appeared that way after Mattek-Sands won the first set. However, there were periods where both players struggled to remain positive and the level of tennis dropped. Neither player is feeling extremely confident, so the winner would be the player better able to play through their doubts and execute their shots. Mattek-Sands had the advantage after winning the first set and going up an early break in the second. Yet, no lead is definite when both players are low on confidence.
There was a shift in momentum as Stephens began to find some consistency on her strokes and Mattek-Sands lost the rhythm on hers. The energy that it takes to stay focused and positive is tremendous and when you have not been playing well, it is even more mentally and physically draining to stay committed. Mattek-Sands could feel the match slipping away and there was absolutely nothing she could do to halt the inevitable as Stephens had more weapons and more energy. The third set was all Stephens and perhaps she can use this 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory as a positive step in the process of rebuilding her confidence and re-claiming her status in the ranking.