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Stephens vs Suarez Navarro tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – US Open champion Stephens looks for back-to-back Rogers Cup quarterfinals in Montreal

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 9 Aug 2018
  • Sloane Stephens faces Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the quarterfinals at the Rogers Cup
  • Stephens vs Suarez Navarro is live from Montreal on Thursday at 11am local/4pm BST
Sloane Stephens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

Sloane Stephens aims to maintain her perfect record against Carla Suarez Navarro as she takes on the Spaniard – a qualifier this year – for a place in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Thursday.

Third seed Sloane Stephens aims to make it back-to-back quarterfinals at the Rogers Cup as she takes on qualifier Carla Suarez Navarro, a former top-10 player, in the third round.

It was at the Rogers Cup 12 months ago, the same tournament but held in Toronto, that Stephens gave the first inkling of the meteoric rise that was to come. The American, an Australian Open semifinalist all the way back in 2013 but having endured a difficult, up-and-down time after that initial success, had only just returned to competition after an enforced absence lasting 11 months to rehab an ankle injury, and had lost the only two matches she had played since the previous August, her ranking having declined to world no. 934. 

Stephens in action at the Rogers Cup in 2017 (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Then came Toronto. Playing on a protected ranking, Stephens beat Yulia Putintseva, Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber and Lucie Safarova to make the semifinals of the Premier-5 event, lifting her ranking all the way up to world no. 151. By the time she backed that up with a semifinal run in Cincinnati, she was at world no. 83 – the number that would be next to her name when she completed her stunning run to a maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open, just four weeks after that Toronto run.

The ensuing 11 months have proved that run was no fluke. Stephens couldn’t win a match for the remainder of 2017, but it didn’t matter much; after a slow start to the year she put together a resplendent run to claim the Premier Mandatory-level title in Miami in March, beating Garbine Muguruza, Kerber, Victoria Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko. Breaking into the top 10 as a result, Stephens went on to make the second Grand Slam final of her career at the French Open, playing some sublime tennis against Daria Kasatkina and Madison Keys and, for a set and a half, against Simona Halep in the final before losing her way and losing in three sets.

Stephens clearly isn’t going to win every tournament she enters – she fell in the first round of Wimbledon to a very good Donna Vekic, and was ousted despite leading by a set and a break against Andrea Petkovic at last week’s Citi Open – but the US Open champion is unbelievably dangerous once she gets a couple of wins under her belt and in Montreal, she has one already, delivering a very, very good performance to beat Canadian wildcard Francoise Abanda 6-0, 6-2. Abanda did not play badly, but Stephens was in more or less total control throughout, and when she did waver, dropping serve late in the second set, the American got right back on top of things to secure the win.

The third seed would probably have signed for a third-round opponent who was a qualifier before the tournament began – but then Carla Suarez Navarro is no ordinary qualifier.
The Spaniard, now 29, was ranked as high as world no. 6 in February 2016 and is currently the world no. 27, a ranking which should have amply secured her a place in the main draw – and would have, had she not forgotten to enter the tournament by the deadline.

Carla Suarez Navarro (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Suarez Navarro decided to play qualifying, something she last did in Sydney in January, but this outing went a lot better than that one which was brought to an abrupt end by world no. 111 Kristie Ahn. A quarterfinalist at the Rogers Cup in 2014, Suarez Navarro scampered through qualifying with wins over Anastasia Rodionova, Kateryna Bondarenko and Katie Boulter, and it has seemingly stood her in good stead: Suarez Navarro got a very good win over Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka in the first round 7-6(2), 6-2, before progressing to the third round when Lesia Tsurenko retired trailing 4-6, 2-3 on Wednesday.

A quarterfinalist at the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Madrid already in 2018, with two wins over top-10 opponents to her credit this season – both over Elina Svitolina – Suarez Navarro has struggled with a back injury in recent times and a subsequent loss of confidence, dragging her ranking down from the high point it attained when she reached finals in Miami and Rome in 2015 and won her biggest title in Doha in February 2016. But the diminutive Spaniard with the florid one-handed backhand is playing some great tennis in Montreal and Stephens might just find her hands full. 

Both their previous matches have gone the way of the American, in straight sets no less, but they haven’t played since 2015 and Suarez Navarro is certainly in the groove and swinging very freely. Stephens will have to be very solid and remain very aggressive if she is to secure a place in the quarterfinals in Montreal: With Suarez Navarro able to scramble almost everything back, any unforced errors at all will be costly.

Stephens vs Suarez Navarro third-round tennis is live from Montreal on Thursday at 11am local/4pm BST

*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify

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Stephens vs Suarez Navarro tennis live streaming, preview and predictions – US Open champion Stephens looks for back-to-back Rogers Cup quarterfinals in Montreal

Sloane Stephens vs Carla Suarez Navarro live streaming, preview and predictions for the Rogers Cup Montreal third-round match on Thursday 9 August 2018: Stealth qualifier Suarez Navarro has won five matches already at the Rogers Cup, can she get her first victory over Stephens?

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