That’s all for tonight. Thanks as always for following along and be sure to check back later for a full report off tonight’s match.
“The forehand was key today,” says Stephens during her on-court interview. “I wanted to come out here and really execute and play my game and I was able to do that well, so I’m really pleased with how I played.”
Asked about Gauff, Stephens has nothing but praise.
“I love Coco,” she says. “I think everyone knows I love Coco. At the end of match I said, ‘I love you.’ She’s such a great player and I feel so lucky to have seen her grow up and play from when she was like eight years old. I’ve seen her game really transition and change and I’m really proud of the player she is and the girl she is and the woman she’s becoming. I know there’s going to be great things ahead for her.”
Second set: Stephens 6-4, 6-2 Gauff
Stephens doesn’t mince about. Four quick points to hold at love and that’s a wrap after 66 minutes. Sloane Stephens is through the third round at the US Open and Coco Gauff’s singles tournament is finished.
Stephens breaks in seventh game of second set!
Second set: *Stephens 6-4, 5-2 Gauff (*denotes next server)
Stephens pushes it to 30-all, only for Gauff to chip in an untimely double fault. Alas. Another break-point chance for Stephens and what feels like an absolute must-win point for Gauff. She’s able to save it with a big serve Stephens can’t return, but blinks again after an eight-shot rally to give Stephens a second break chance. Gauff saves that one too, coming to net to do so. Stephens then hits a forehand winner for a third break-point look and this time she converts when Gauff sprays a baseline forehand wide early in a rally. Stephens goes up a double break and she will serve for the match after the change of ends.
Second set: Stephens 6-4, 4-2 Gauff* (*denotes next server)
Stephens backs up the break with verve, holding at love. She’s won 11 points on the trot and is two points from the finish line.
Stephens breaks in fifth game of second set!
Second set: *Stephens 6-4, 3-2 Gauff (*denotes next server)
After saving a break point in the previous game, Stephens breaks Gauff at love in the span of about two minutes. What a swing. There hasn’t been a whole lot to separate these two on the night but Stephens, perhaps owing to her experience, has managed to raise her level at the critical moments. She’s really tightened her grip on the proceedings now.
Second set: Stephens 6-4, 2-2 Gauff* (*denotes next server)
Gauff wins two quick points on Stephens’ serve for love-30 and she’s got a bit of an opening here. Stephens pushes it to 30-all only to send a swing volley on the approach long for 30-40. It’s Gauff’s first break-point chance of the night … and Stephens saves it with a big 108mph serve out wide that Gauff can’t get a read on. From there Stephens wins a pair of quick points to escape with the hold.
Second set: *Stephens 6-4, 1-2 Gauff (*denotes next server)
Gauff coasts to another hold of serve. If you toss out that wobble in the ninth game of the opening set, she’s won 24 of 29 points on her serve tonight.
Second set: Stephens 6-4, 1-1 Gauff* (*denotes next server)
An all-court 19-shot rally breaks out but Gauff nets a forehand to end it after doing well to return the preceding lob. Stephens fires in three unreturnable serves from there to hold at love. The noise from the rain has quieted a bit over the last 15 minutes.
Second set: *Stephens 6-4, 0-1 Gauff (*denotes next server)
Gauff breezes through her opening service game of the second set, punctuating the hold with a 116mph ace to the body.
First set: Stephens 6-4 Gauff
Stephens moves two points from the set at 30-15, then chips in a double fault for 30-all. High tension! She then moves to set point with a sharply angled forehand that Gauff can’t handle, but makes an unforced error on the next point that pushes it to deuce. Stephens uncorks a big 111mph unreturnable serve for a second second point and this time she converts, getting the better of her younger opponent in a 13-shot rally. First set to the 2017 champion.
Stephens breaks in ninth game of first set!
First set: *Stephens 5-4 Gauff (*denotes next server)
Gauff cracks another ace, but follows with back-to-back unforced errors to go 15-30 down for the first time tonight. Stephens pounds an inside-out forehand winner on the next point and we have our first break-point chances of the night at 15-40 … and Gauff double-faults. Oh dear. Stephens nabs the first break of the match and will serve for the opening set after the changeover.
First set: Stephens 4-4 Gauff* (*denotes next server)
The steady din of rain on the Ashe roof is peppered with a loud clap of thunder during the changeover. It’s really coming down out there. Stephens races out to 30-love and she’s won 13 straight points on her serve. An unforced error off Gauff’s backhand makes it 40-15, but couple of bad misses by Stephens and we’re at deuce for the first time tonight. A chance for Gauff. But Stephens slams the door shut with her fifth and sixth winners for 4-all.
First set: *Stephens 3-4 Gauff (*denotes next server)
Another stress-free hold for Gauff, this one capped by a lovely backhand winner to settle a 13-shot baseline exchange. More of those please.
First set: Stephens 3-3 Gauff* (*denotes next server)
Another love hold for Stephens. Both players serving very well in the early stages.
First set: *Stephens 2-3 Gauff (*denotes next server)
Gauff also holds at love, getting all first serves in and capping it with her third ace of the night: a 110mph number out wide.
First set: Stephens 2-2 Gauff* (*denotes next server)
Stephens quickly holds at love. She’s won eight of nine points on her serve and got six first serves in.
First set: *Stephens 1-2 Gauff (*denotes next server)
Gauff moves ahead 15-love on her serve thanks to another backhand unforced error by Stephens, then shows her first sign of nerves with a double fault for 15-all. Gauff follows with a 99mph service winner, then misfires at the end of a 12-shot baseline rally for 30-all. First flicker of a chance for Stephens, but Gauff answers with a 95mph ace down the middle before holding serve thanks to another backhand unforced error by Stephens.
First set: Stephens 1-1 Gauff* (*denotes next server)
Gauff pushes it to 15-all on Stephens’ serve, but Stephens rattles off three quick points to hold in her opening service game.
First set: *Stephens 0-1 Gauff (*denotes next server)
Gauff will serve to start and she opens with a 91mph ace down the middle. She follows with a second serve to the body that Stephens can’t return into the court. Then Gauff gets it to 40-love when Stephens blinks first in an 11-shot rally, missing a backhand from the baseline. Another unforced error from Stephens and Gauff holds at love.
The players are on court for their warm-up. Ashe is a little under half full at the moment as fans but it’s loud beneath the retractable roof, promising an electric atmosphere. We should be under way any minute now.
Thursday’s order of play is hot off the presses. Here’s what’s on tap for the biggest courts:
Day session (12pm local time)
• A Barty (AUS)  v C Tauson (DEN)
• A Zverev (GER)  v A Ramos-Vinolas (ESP)
Night session (7pm local time)
• N Djokovic (SRB)  v T Griekspoor (NED)
• K Pliskova (CZE)  v A Anisimova (USA)
Day session (11am local time)
• B Bencic (SUI)  v M Trevisan (ITA)
• P Kvitova (CZE)  v K Pliskova (CZE)
• G Monfils (FRA)  v S Johnson (USA)
Night session (7pm local time)
• L Davis (USA) v B Andreescu (CAN) 
• R Carballes Baena (ESP) v D Shapovalov (CAN) 
Hello and welcome to soggy Flushing Meadows for tonight’s all-American showdown between Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff. Soaking rains from the remnants of Hurricane Ida have wiped out play on the outer courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the time being, but we’re safely under the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium for a second-round cracker that will pit the 2017 US Open champion against the youngest player (and highest-ranked American) remaining in the women’s draw.
It’s been four years since Stephens’ stunning run to the championship in Queens, when she became the fifth unseeded woman in the Open era to win a grand slam singles title only 69 days after her return from an 11-month injury layoff and six weeks after her ranking dropped all the way to 957th in the world. The 28-year-old battled inconsistency over the past year, reaching the third round at Roland Garros and Wimbledon but dropping to 66th in the rankings from her career peak of No 3 in 2018.
Gauff, the No 21 seed and the youngest player in the WTA’s top 100, is back on Ashe for the first time since reaching the third round on her main-draw debut back in 2019. That was a night she’d rather forget: a 6-3, 6-0 loss to Naomi Osaka that left her in tears. Two years later, the 17-year-old emerging star is back under the lights at her home slam with a spot in the third round on the line – and a potential fourth-round date with Osaka looming.
The players will be taking the court for their warm-up in 10 minutes or so.