Sloane Stephens grinds out victory in clay-court season opener

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Sloane Stephens forehand

Top seed Sloane Stephens required more than two hours to see off Sara Sorribes Tormo in her opening match at the Volvo Car Open.

The American needed two tie-breakers and two hours and 37 minutes to beat Tormo 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4) in her first match on clay this year.

“It was a tough day, and I was just happy to get through,” Stephens said after the match. “Obviously a lot of different factors, but just happy with the fight and happy that I was able to get through.”

Defending champion Kiki Bertens had a much easier day at the office as she beat Martina Trevisan 6-2, 6-1 in under an hour to move into the third round.

In first-round action, 11th seed Danielle Collins beat fellow American Madison Brengle 6-1, 6-3, Mihaela Buzarnescu, seeded 12th, was a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 winner over Magdalena Frech while 15th seed Maria Sakkari secured a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Conny Perrin.

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