Tennis: Stephens clings on to advance in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens clung on for dear life to reach the fourth round of the French Open with a 4-6 6-1 8-6 victory over Italian Camila Giorgi.

FILE PHOTO: May 30, 2018, Paris, France: Sloane Stephens (USA) in action during her match against Magdalena Frech (POL) on day four of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros. Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

The American 10th seed had dropped just six games in her previous two matches and stepped onto a sunbathed Court 18 holding a perfect record against Italian opponents at majors.

But such statistics mattered little to Giorgi and she left Stephens yelling “What the hell’s going on?” after breaking the American to go 6-5 up in the final set.

Giorgi came into the contest knowing she had the game to trouble the American, having won their last two encounters in straight sets, and it was no different on Saturday as she served for the match at 5-4 and again at 6-5.

But Stephens kept her nerve to break back on both occasions and was mightily relieved when she saw Giorgi’s backhand zip beyond the baseline on her first match point.

Stephens will hope her body does not suffer too much fatigue from the two hours 26 minutes tussle as she will be back on court on Sunday for a showdown with Czech Petra Kvitova’s conqueror, Estonian 25th seed Anett Kontaveit.

Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ken Ferris

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