Sloane Stephens relished every moment she spent on her favourite court in the world as the she cruised to a 6-0, 6-4 first-round victory over former world number one Katerina Pliskova on Monday to put down an early marker at the French Open.
The 30-year-old, runner-up in Paris five years ago, gave erratic Pliskova no chance on the main Philippe-Chatrier court, speeding through the first set in 49 minutes before the Czech recovered in the second.
But she kept piling up unforced errors -- 31 in total -- as well as half a dozen double faults, giving Stephens, ranked in the past as high as third in the world, the chance to race back from 4-3 down, break her twice and rattle off the next three games to seal victory.
“This is my favourite court in the world and I am super happy to be back,” said Stephens, currently ranked 30th.
The American, who won her only Grand Slam at the 2017 US Open, was also a quarterfinalist in Paris last year despite struggling for form.
Stephens came into the tournament in improving form on clay after winning her first WTA 125 event and reaching the semifinals on clay in Rabat last week.
“To start like that on your favourite court and favourite surface is great. I wanted to get matches under my belt this year (before the tournament) and I was feeling confident,” Stephens said.
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