French Open: Sloane Stephens earns 34th win by defeating Varvara Gracheva in straight sets

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US tennis star Sloane Stephens races through to third round of the French Open with dominant straight-sets win over Varvara Gracheva… before opening up on racist abuse she faces online

  • Stephens, ranked as the World’s No. 30, won 6-2, 6-1 in an hour and 13 minutes
  • She is joined in the third round by compatriots Jessica Pegula & Payton Stearns
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Sloane Stephens continued her fine form at the French Open this afternoon as she breezed into the third round with a two-set win over Russian Varvara Gracheva.

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The American world No. 30 won 6-2, 6-1 in an hour and 13 minutes in the searing heat on Court No. 14 to record a 34th win at Roland Garros, more than all but Serena and Venus Williams in the 21st century.

Stephens, from Florida, this week said that racism towards tennis players is getting worse by admitting: ‘It’s been a problem my entire career. It has never stopped. If anything, it’s only gotten worse.’

Asked on an app being used for the first time this week which helps to filter out negative comments made on social media, Stephens said: ‘I did hear about the software. I have not used it.

‘I have a lot of key words banned on Instagram and all of these things, but that doesn’t stop someone from just typing in an asterisk or typing it in a different way, which obviously software most of the time doesn’t catch.’

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USA’s Sloane Stephens defeated Varvara Gracheva, of Russia, in straight sets on Wednesday

Gracheva lost to Stephens in the second round by a score of 6-2, 6-1, in little over an hour

Gracheva lost to Stephens in the second round by a score of 6-2, 6-1, in little over an hour

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Stephens is currently the world's No. 30 and is among a contingent of Americans left in Paris

Stephens is currently the world’s No. 30 and is among a contingent of Americans left in Paris

She showed why she is one of the most dangerous unseeded players in a dominant performance that was reminiscent of the form that saw her win the US Open in 2017 and get to the final here in 2018.

Elsewhere on day four at Roland Garros, world No. 3 Jessica Pegula eased into the next round in the early session on Court Philippe Chatrier after her Italian opponent Camila Giorgi was forced to retire injured in the second set.

Pegula has now made the third round or better at 10 of her last 11 majors and is starting to show good consistency.

Asked if she had noticed a number of seeded players falling from the women’s singles draw, Pegula said:  ‘I definitely pay attention. I think you see the upsets or maybe, I don’t know, tough matches that maybe I’m not so surprised that it happened, depending on who’s in form, who’s not, the matchups and stuff like that.

‘Yeah, I saw a couple more today. I know from the first round there were some, as well.’

Jessica Pegula, of the US, also won on Wednesday after her opponent, Camila Giorgi, retired

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Jessica Pegula, of the US, also won on Wednesday after her opponent, Camila Giorgi, retired

Peyton Stearns recorded the biggest win of her career against 2017 champ' Jelena Ostapenko

Peyton Stearns recorded the biggest win of her career against 2017 champ’ Jelena Ostapenko

Peyton Stearns recorded the biggest win of her career by beating 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko in three sets. It was her first top-20 win and she will rise above No. 60 in the world rankings after a positive clay-court season.

Asked how she managed to overcome a former champion, the Cincinnati-born 21-year-old said: ‘Probably college tennis, you see a lot of people screaming at you so I thrive off the energy and I love it out here.

‘I think I have developed a solid team around me that I trust and they want me to put in the best. 

‘I come to the courts every day and try my best even if it doesn’t look pretty and that’s that.’

It was a dismal day, though, for the male Americans in Paris, with Sebastian Korda falling in straight sets to Sebastian Ofner.

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