For the second week running, Sloane Stephens was tripped up in her opening match by an opponent ranked well outside the Top 50.
On Tuesday in Toronto, the seventh-seeded Stephens was sent packing by 91st-ranked qualifier Marie Bouzkova, who after failing to serve out the match on her first opportunity, stayed the course to advance, 6-2, 7-5. The 21-year-old Czech celebrated her first Top 10 victory and will face either Jelena Ostapenko or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the quarterfinals.
For Stephens, she’ll hope to find answers in Cincinnati after failing to defend her Rogers Cup finalist points from a year ago, when the WTA Premier 5 event was held in Montreal. She began her North American hard-court swing last week in Washington D.C. as the top seed, but was ousted by No. 70 Rebecca Peterson, also by a 6-2, 7-5 scoreline. She is still seeking her first title of the season.
With Stephens losing, Serena Williams will overtake the 2017 US Open champion as the top-ranked American in next week’s WTA rankings.