Serena vs. Sloane – Fireworks
This might as well be a final. These two women are world beaters, and we get to see this match in the 3rd round of a Grand Slam. We wouldn’t be watching this match if Sloane was playing up to her potential as of late. Unfortunately for Sloane, it’s been a bit of a see saw last few years. Few remember her incredible run to the 2017 US Open title, or her run to the 2018 French Open final, where she was pushing Simona Halep effortlessly around the court before succumbing to the tenacity and will of her opponent. Since that memorable French Open final, Stephens has been a shadow of her former self.
That may all be going out the window during her third-round match against Williams on Saturday. Sloane is now back with her longtime coach Kamau Murray, and the game has always been there. If the game is back, Sloane will cause Williams fits as she effortless moves the ball from side to side from the back of the court.
What Serena needs to do to win
Serve like she knows how to. Serena will need to serve at a percentage above 70% for first serves. Serving well is the key in order for her focus to be able to focus on breaking Sloane’s serve. Also, Serena must not get strung into deep, loopy topspin rallies. This is where Sloane thrives. Sloane will be happy to just sit back and make Serena miss.
What Sloane needs to do to win
Sloane must assert her game early on, and not let Serena get into a rhythm. She will need to mix things up and push Serena back with her heavy and deep groundstrokes. She will need to also be able to pull the trigger from the baseline when the moment calls with precision. Finally, and above all, she must make Serena work hard to hold her serve. If you make Serena work hard to hold her serve, her groundstrokes will slowly crumble.