Story of the match
At ease in the world’s biggest clay-court stadium on a breezy afternoon, Stephens was on mission from the get-go. She blanketed the court and deployed a variety of strokes to befuddle the 2017 semi-finalist, ultimately coming through the opening set unscathed.
Methodical and probing, Stephens converted her second break point of the fourth game to take a 4-0 lead. The 2018 runner-up seized on Pliskova’s passivity and blasted through nine of the final 10 points to close out the set in 33 minutes.
Pliskova made it competitive in the second set, finally getting on the board in the eighth game with her first service hold. The 16th-seeded Czech even went ahead briefly with a break for 4-3, but her lead was short-lived.
Stephens turned the tide, winning two deuce games for 5-4, then broke Pliskova for the fifth time to close out her victory in one hour and 24 minutes.