The 24-year-old fell out of love with the game before 11 months sidelined rekindled her desire to get to the top
SLOANE STEPHENS demolished close pal Madison Keys 6-3 6-0 in just 61 minutes to claim her first Grand Slam title.
And if Stephens can maintain fitness after her foot injury and the kind of form she showed in New York, it will surely not be the last.
Stephens, 24, had fallen out of love with tennis before 11 months of enforced absence gave her a new perspective.
At the end of July, after making her comeback at Wimbledon, she was the world No 957.
Now she is the champion at her home Slam.
She said: “It’s incredible.
“I had surgery on January 23 and if someone had told me that I would win the US Open I would have said it was absolutely impossible.
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“I should retire now! I told Maddie: ‘I’m never going to be able to top this.’
“Talk about a comeback.”
It was an even contest until Stephens took the first break point of the match in the fifth game.
But from then on Keys, who herself had wrist surgery earlier in the year, simply tried too hard, making too many unforced errors and going for shots that weren’t on.
Stephens took the free points and chose her moments to attack perfectly in a mature performance.
Keys, whose heavily strapped right thigh may well have been a factor in her comprehensive defeat, said: “Sloane is one of my favourite people.
“If there’s someone I had to lose to today, I’m glad that it’s her.”