US Open 2017: American Sloane Stephens races to first Grand Slam title with one-sided victory over Madison Keys


Sloane Stephens raced to her first grand slam title at the US Open with a one-sided victory over friend Madison Keys.
The meeting between the two young Americans, both in their maiden slam final, was all over in 61 minutes as Stephens triumphed 6-3 6-0.
It may have been an underwhelming final but the victory caps a remarkable summer for the 24-year-old, who returned from more than ten months out with a foot injury in July and a month ago was ranked 934.
At 83 in the rankings, Stephens is the fifth lowest-ranked woman to win a slam title in the Open era and her ranking will now soar to 17.
Stephens, who was unable to walk after undergoing surgery in January, looked at her support camp in disbelief when Keys netted a final forehand before sharing a long embrace with her former junior rival at the net.
After climbing up into the stands for an emotional celebration with her support camp, Stephens returned to the court and sat beside Keys as the pair chatted and waited for the trophy presentation.
Both Keys, 22, and Stephens have long been touted as potential grand slam challengers but very few people expected that to come at the same time and at this tournament.
With injuries forcing both to miss the Australian Open, and Stephens not making her return until Wimbledon, they arrived in New York with just two grand slam victories between them all season.
Stephens' run had been probably the more eye-catching, largely because of the length of her lay-off and her semi-final victory over Venus Williams.
But Keys claimed the higher-ranked scalp in fourth seed Elina Svitolina and hit peak form to crush Coco Vandeweghe in the semi-finals.
This was a classic match of styles, the natural ball-striking ability of Keys against the athleticism and consistency of Stephens. And it soon became clear which would be in the ascendancy.
Stephens has returned to the game with a new, relaxed approach and that did not change in her first grand slam final.
Keys looked tense and again had heavy strapping on her right thigh after feeling something late in her semi-final victory over Vandeweghe.
Stephens added to her rival's troubles by forcing Keys to put all the pace on the ball from difficult areas.
By the end of the first set, Keys had made 17 unforced errors compared to just two from Stephens, and there was no change in momentum at the start of the second.
The crowd had struggled to get into the match from the start, understandably unsure how to react to a clash between two young Americans, and now it was hurtling towards a conclusion.
Keys simply could find no way through Stephens' defences and her last chance to at least make a match of it went when she missed three break points at 0-4.
She fought hard to get on the board in the second set, saving two match points, the second with a fizzing forehand winner, but this was not her day.