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STEPHENS QUEEN NG US OPEN

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Nagdiwang si Sloane Stephens ng US matapos talunin ang kababayang si Madison Keys sa women’s singles final ng 2017 US Open tennis tournament sa USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center sa New York City. (AFP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Hindi kinakitaan ng nerbiyos o anupaman si Sloane Stephens sa pagsabak sa kanyang unang Grand Slam final. Mas malamang pa ang kanyang kalabang si Madison Keys.

Kaya naman, magaang na tinalo ni Stephens ang close friend na si Keys, 6-3, 6-0, upang hablutin ang US Open, Linggo (Manila time), upang matagumpay na makabalik mula sa 11-month lay-off sanhi ng foot surgery.

“I should just retire now,” pagbibiro ni Stephens. “I told Maddie I’m never going to be able to top this. I mean, talk about a comeback.”

Ang 83rd ranked Stephens, na sumipa kay Venus Williams sa semifinals, ay ikalawang unseeded woman na manalo sa torneo sa Open era, na nagsimula noong 1968.

Ito rin ang ikalawang pagkakataon sa Open era na ang nagharap sa titulo ay pareho nilang Grand Slam final debut.

Si Keys, 22, at si Stephens, 24, ay may isang taon nang magkakilala at magkaibigan. Madalas silang mag-text sa isa’t isa at nagtatawagan nang parehong hindi makalaro sa Australian Open sanhi ng operasyon — si Keys sa kaliwang wrist, habang kaliwang paa naman si Stephens.

“Sloane is truly one of my favorite people and to get to play her was really special. Obviously I didn’t play my best tennis today and was disappointed,” lahad ni Keys. “But Sloane, being the great friend that she is, was very supportive. And if there’s someone I have to lose to today, I’m glad it’s her.”