- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 30, 2019

No. 1 seed Sloane Stephens lost, 6-2, 7-5, in straight sets to Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in the first round of the Citi Open on Tuesday.

After losing the first set, Stephens took an early 2-0 lead in the next one. Peterson tightened it to 5-5, then took it the rest of the way.

“I thought I could have played better,” Stephens said. “Obviously it was hot, tough conditions but from here the only thing you can do is improve.”

Stephens, who has six singles titles to her name, was the highest-ranking American female tennis star playing in the Citi Open at No. 8 in the world. Compare that to Stockholm native Peterson, who lands at No. 70.

But upsets like this one aren’t completely unheard of for the 26-year-old American tennis player. She lost to No. 83 Jelena Ostapenko at the Eastbourne International last month, and she was upset by No. 14 Johanna Konta at the third round of Wimbledon.

Both of these losses were on grass courts, but the conditions of Tuesday’s match were different.

“It was really hot. It was brutal out. You had to get the hard court season started,” Stephens said. “Here’s a little bit tough because the weather’s a bit challenging but it’ll be like this through obviously the rest of the series. I just got to get used to it.”

Peterson advances to the second round.

• Rina Torchinsky can be reached at rtorchinsky@washingtontimes.com.

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