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Sloane Stephens routs Madison Keys for US Open title, first Grand Slam crown

NEW YORK, Sept 10: Sloane Stephens, sidelined for 11 months by a left foot injury until returning in July, captured her first Grand Slam title by routing fellow American Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0 in Saturday’s US Open final.

Stephens took a $3.7 million (3.07 million euros) top prize from the biggest victory of her career, pitted against one of her closest friends in the first all-US final since 2002 on the New York hardcourts.

With the 15th victory in her past 17 matches, Stephens became only the fifth unseeded player to win a women’s Slam title, although Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko managed the feat at this year’s French Open.

The only prior unseeded US Open women’s champion was Kim Clijsters, who came back from retirement to take the 2009 title.

Stephens made only six unforced errors in the match to 30 for Keys, who had 18 winners to 10 for the champion.

It was the first final set of a US Open women’s championship match where the loser didn’t take a game since Chris Evert beat Evonne Goolagong 6-3, 6-0 in 1976.

Keys, seeded 15th, and 83rd-ranked Stephens each fought off injuries to reach the title showdown.

Stephens returned at Wimbledon and slid to 957th in world rankings before semi-final runs at US Open tuneups in Toronto and Cincinnati, while Keys underwent her second left wrist surgery after the French Open and won a tuneup title at Stanford.

Stephens will jump to 17th in Monday’s world rankings while Keys, who took hom $1.825 million as runner-up, will rise to 12th.

In the firset set, Stephens broke to seize a 3-2 lead, Keys swatting a forehand beyond the baseline to surrender the game, and Stephens broke again when Keys send a backhand long to take the set after 30 minutes.

Keys made 17 unforced errors in the opening set to just two for Stephens, both in the last game.

In the second set, Stephens broke with a forehand crosscourt winner past on outstretched Keys to grab a 2-0 edge, then broke again on a double fault for a 4-0 lead, Keys swatting the ball with her left hand as it bounced back at her.

Keys forced triple break point in the fifth game but Stephens saved them all and held to 5-0.

The end came after 61 minutes on Stephens’ third break and championship point when Keys netted a forehand.

Hands on hips, Stephens simply stood for a few seconds with a stunned expression, then smiled and made a tiny fist pump before going to the net to share a teary-eyed hug with Keys.

Neither Keys, 22, nor Stephens, 24, had ever reached a Slam final, only the seventh time in the Open Era (since 1967) two first-timers met for a women’s Slam title.

But it was the second time in three years it happened at Arthur Ashe Stadium after Flavia Pennetta beat Roberta Vinci in 2015’s all-Italian final.

Mithali Raj creates cricket history, becomes leading run-getter in Women’s ODIs

NEW DELHI, July 12: Indian cricketer, Mithali Raj, created cricket history when she became leading run-getter in Women’s ODIs. She has also crossed 6,000 runs milestone.

Mithali Raj has been India’s premier player ever since she made her debut in 1999. Her exploits in the international stage in both Tests and ODIs have made her India’s premier player. The ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 in England has proven to be lucky for the Indian captain.

Mithali Raj started off her tournament in grand style as she created a world record by smashing seven consecutive fifty-plus scores, making her the first woman player to achieve the feat.

In the crucial game against Australia, Mithali Raj added yet another feather in her cap. When she scored 34 runs, the Indian skipper created history as she became the leading run-getter in ODIs, going past England player Charlotte Edwards’ record of 5992 ODI runs. The Indian skipper got to the landmark by punching Ellyse Perry to cover.

Mithali broke another record when she became the first player in the women’s game to reach 6000 ODI runs when she launched legspinner Kristen Beams over long on for a big six.

Here are some of the statistical milestones that Mithali has broken in her 18-year playing career

1 - Mithali Raj became the first women’s player to reach 6000 ODI runs. No other women’s player had achieved this mark. England’s Charlotte Edwards was the previous leading run-getter in ODIs with 5992 runs.

49 - Number of fifties by Mithali Raj in ODIs, which is the most by any woman player. Charlotte Edwards had the previous highest number of fifties with 46.

7 - Number of consecutive fifties Mithali Raj had scored before the world cup and during the tournament. This is a record streak in women’s cricket.

3 - Mithali Raj is only the second player in women’s cricket history to average over 50 in ODIs. The Indian skipper currently has an average of over 51. Australia’s Meg Lanning has the highest average of 54.12 followed by Ellyse Perry, who has an average of 50.

164 - Number of innings that has taken Mithali to achieve this feat. She has 48 not-outs to her name, which is the most in women’s cricket.


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