Abierto Akron Zapopan
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Abierto Akron Zapopan
Sloane Stephens cruises past 14-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova in Guadalajara
Playing against a qualifier half her age, Stephens’ experience shined through as she claimed her first win of the year at the Abierto Akron Zapopan.
Published Feb 22, 2022
WATCH: Sloane Stephens defeats 14-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova in the first round of 2022 Guadalajara.
What were you doing at 14 years old? No. 6 seed Sloane Stephens hit the court on Monday in Guadalajara looking for her first win of the year—but all eyes were on her opponent, Brenda Fruhvirtova, who was half her age and making her WTA main draw debut at the Abierto Akron Zapopan.
The 14-year-old was already a well-scouted name when she arrived in Mexico. Fruhvirtova became the youngest ITF champion in six years by winning back-to-back titles at 25K events in Argentina, and extended her winning streak to 14 matches by fighting past Sara Errani and Leonie Kung in Guadalajara qualifying.
Fruhvirtova, who hails from the Czech Republic and trains at the Mouratoglou Academy, acquitted herself well in her first main draw experience against US Open champion Stephens. She stayed toe-to-toe with Stephens throughout the opening stretches, and held her first two service games.
But that’s when Stephens’ years of experience came into play, as well as her big hitting from the baseline. The American maintained her composure to break her opponent four times across two sets for a comfortable 6-2, 6-2 victory.
“The first pro I played was [Vera] Zvonareva. I got whooped, but it was a good experience,” Stephens reflected after the match. “[Fruhvirtova] was probably a bit nervous. She’s a great player, has great results. Looking forward to seeing what she does in the future.”
At 14 years and 331 days old, Fruhvirtova was the youngest player to compete in a WTA main draw match since April 2009, when Madison Keys (14 years, 54 days) played at Ponte Vedra Beach, according to WTA Insider.
With her first victory of the year under her belt, No. 6 seed Stephens stays on track for a blockbuster quarterfinal rematch with another teen phenom: fellow US Open winner Emma Raducanu could await in the last eight, should both players advance. Stephens faced Raducanu in the first round of the Australian Open earlier this year, falling 6-0, 2-6, 6-1.
Stephens awaits the winner of qualifier Rebeka Masarova and Chloe Paquet in the second round, while Raducanu is set to start her Guadalajara campaign against Daria Saville on Tuesday night.