Sloane Stephens came, she played hard, and she conquered. Fin.
The 24-year-old Plantation, Florida, native took on No.15-seeded Madison Keys, 22, in the US Open finals. It was anyone's match going in, but Stephens got an early service break in the first set and then pulled away for a 6-3, 6-0 victory.
The pressure was on, as an esteemed audience including Billie Jean King, Emma Stone, Michael J. Fox and Hilary Swank watched the two American women battle it out for the Open title.
The champ is here
Last month, Stephens was ranked No. 957 in the world. She departs Flushing Meadows as a champion.
Sloane Stephens joins Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport & Serena as the 4th American woman in the Open Era to win her 1st major title at home. pic.twitter.com/fUaQ7U6yLI
Sloane Stephens joins Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport & Serena as the 4th American woman in the Open Era to win her 1st major title at home. pic.twitter.com/fUaQ7U6yLI— espnW (@espnW) September 9, 2017
Stephens, who suffered a left foot injury in 2016, returned to the Open with a vengeance after an 11-month layoff. She had to knock out some of the greats: Julia Goerges, Roberta Vinci and Venus Williams, to pull off this historic rise to the top.
Sloane Stephens' meteoric rise:— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 9, 2017
Post-Toronto SF: #151
Post-Cincy SF: #84#USOpen Champ: #17
#12 in Race to Singapore.
Now, it's time for Stephens (along with her trophy and her $3.7 million winner's check) to celebrate.
I love the shock from Sloane Stephens at word of that paycheck 😂😂😂😂😂— Elle Duncan (@elleduncanESPN) September 9, 2017
Same Sloane. Same.
That postmatch extended embrace between Stephens and Keys said it all. They are fierce competitors, yet have a profound mutual respect for one another.
"If I had to lose to anyone, I'm glad it was to [Sloane]," said Keys, the youngest American to make a Slam final since Serena Williams, who was 21 when she won Wimbledon in 2003.
Excuse me. I've got something in my eyes.
The GOAT(s) were watching
Even when she's not on the court at Arthur Ashe, Serena Williams' presence is always felt. Leading up to the women's finals, the 23-time Grand Slam titlist and new mother took time to send her fellow American players well wishes.
These amazing women continue to change the game and bring excellence, power, finesse and change to tennis.— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 8, 2017
Stephens upset Serena's sister Venus to reach the finals, while Keys ousted CoCo Vandeweghe.
What a joy it will be to watch this- hopefully first of many finals. Let's go ladies! ❤️❤️❤️— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 8, 2017
Billie Jean King and Emma Stone (who plays BJK in the forthcoming "Battle of the Sexes" film) watched Stephens take the title as well.
The cast and crew of the movie, which recalls the 1973 tennis match between King and Bobby Riggs, got in on the fun, too.
Wow @SloaneStephens! So happy for you! 💪🏼🏆💕— Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) September 9, 2017
Congratulations 👸🏾 https://t.co/sJfdxHVujf— DWade (@DwyaneWade) September 9, 2017
Golf great Greg Norman welcomed her to the "Slam" club.
Countless boldface names sent Stephens virtual pats on the back.
Oh, and "Orange Is the New Black" star Uzo Aduba's selfie with the champ FTW.