Coaches often tell players to practice the way you play.
That strategy didn’t work out for Sloane Stephens.
“Leading up, I didn’t practice that great and I just wasn’t feeling the ball out there,” said Stephens, who lost to eventual Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals on July 2.
“Sometimes you have days like that and it’s unfortunate that it came today.”
The struggles started early for the 15th-ranked Stephens, particularly with her service game.
The highest-ranked American behind Serena Williams, Stephens was broken three times in each set by the unseeded and 88th-ranked Russian.
After falling behind 3-0 and 4-1 in the first set, the 20-year-old Stephens worked her way back into a 5-5 tie, only to falter in the end.
“I couldn’t really get it together, but there will be more tournaments, so it’s OK,” Stephens said.
She dealt with an abdominal injury earlier this summer, but said it wasn’t a factor on Monday.
“I felt fine. When I’m injured, I play great. When I’m healthy I can’t hit a ball on the court.”
After dropping the opening set, the 31-year-old Fish turned the momentum by winning the lengthy opening game of the second set. He capped the service break with a cross-court winner and took the next three games for a 4-0 lead.