Sabalenka Bests Stephens In First Women's Night Match Of 2023 Roland Garros

Sabalenka Bests Stephens In First Women's Night Match Of 2023 Roland Garros

by Zachary Wimer

Aryna Sabalenka defeated Sloane Stephens in the first WTA night match on the Court Philippe-Chatrier at the 2023 Roland Garros.

Seemingly, there was no bigger topic at the second Grand Slam of the season than the scheduling of the matches. During the first seven days of play, all matches played during the night session on the Court Philippe-Chatrier were men's and fans were really upset about it.

After a few days of calls for a WTA match, the tournament organizers finally responded and scheduled a women's singles match for a night session. A match between the second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka and Sloane Stephens, who was one of the players talking about the issue.

But also this call, which was previously avoided and defended by the tournament director Amalie Mauresmo, didn't go without controversy. Immediately after the women's match was announced, hundreds of tickets were returned in a weird response by the fans.

In a build-up to the whole match, two Top 10 players talked about the night matches. While Iga Swiatek admitted to requesting day matches, another finalist from last year, Coco Gauff said that no one really wants to play the night match.

But the match itself delivered, despite not going past the second set. Sabalenka defeated Stephens in all previous meetings and she wanted to follow up on that win also on the Parisian clay.

The start of the match was very interesting with both players having their moments. First, the Belarusian went into a 5-0 lead, but that wasn't enough for her to end the first set before a tie-break.

Despite having four set points, Stephens was able to win the following five games and eventually force a first-set tie-break. The American even led in the tie-break when she was up 4-2, but she lost her lead and the second seed took the first set, winning 7-6(5).

The second set was much less dramatic and included fewer break points. The first break came in the fifth game when Sabalenka marched ahead, and even though Stephens recovered the break in the eighth game, the Belarusian won nine points in a row to seal the match and her quarterfinal ticket, winning 7-6(5), 6-4.

In the quarterfinals, she will face a player that is enjoying probably the most incredible weeks of her career. Elina Svitolina won yet another match and secure her Top 100 return after giving birth only recently.


You may also like