Stephens into fourth round of French for second straight year

Saturday, June 01, 2013 /by
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PARIS -- Sloane Stephens of the United States reached the French Open's fourth round for the second consecutive year with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory Saturday over 92nd-ranked Marina Erakovic, who was penalized a point in the third set for getting coached.

The 17th-seeded Stephens won the last three games against Erakovic, the first woman from New Zealand to get to the third round in Paris.

A year ago, Stephens became the first U.S. teenager to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros since Serena Williams in 2001. She followed that up by getting to her first Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open this January, beating Williams to get there.

Now 20, Stephens will face defending champion Maria Sharapova or Zheng Jie for a spot in the French Open quarterfinals.

Stephens was three points away from closing out the 2-hour, 17-minute match against Erakovic much earlier, ahead 4-2 in the second-set tiebreaker. But Erakovic took five of the next six points to force a third set.

Stephens then faced two break points in each of her next two service games, but saved all four to lead 2-1.

At the ensuing changeover, the chair umpire announced Erakovic would be docked a point for coaching, which is not allowed during Grand Slam matches.

She argued and shook her head, and then went out and got broken to trail 3-1. But up a break against a flustered opponent, Stephens got broken right back when she put a forehand into the net. Erakovic held in the next game, making it 3-all.

But Stephens wouldn't drop another game.

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