Unseeded 22-year-old Sloane Stephens defeated fellow American Madison Keys, the number 15 seed, late Saturday afternoon 6-3, 6-0 to capture the 2017 U.S. Open Women’s Singles Championship, the first Grand Slam title of her career. With the win, Stephens becomes the lowest-ranked player to win the U.S. Open title.
Stephens, playing in just her fifth tournament of the year, returned to the courts after an 11-month absence earlier this summer after a January foot surgery.
"It's incredible," said Stephens. "I had surgery Jan. 23, and if someone had told me then that I would win the US Open, 'It's impossible,' I would have said. This journey has been incredible, and honestly I wouldn't change it for the world."
Stephens was never broken in the match, which lasted just 61 minutes. Ranked as high as 957th in the world as of Aug. 1, Stephens will rise to 17th in the WTA Women’s Singles Rankings on Monday.
"I told Maddie [Keys] I should just retire now," said Stephens post-match. "It's never going to get better than this.”
Keys was also no stranger to the injury bug, playing in just her 10th event of the season in Flushing Meadows, after having two surgical procedures on her left wrist, in December and again in June.
It’s been 15 years since two U.S. female players met in the finals of the U.S. Open, when Serena Williams defeated her sister Venus, 6-4, 6-3.
"To get to play Sloane was really special,” said Keys. “I obviously didn't play my best tennis today and was disappointed, but if there's someone I have to lose to today, I'm glad it was her."