The US Open has a new champion. American Solane Stephens became only the fifth unseeded woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open era. It was the 24-year-old's first Grand Slam. Stephens who was ranked 83rd until Monday needed just 61 minutes to brush aside compatriot 22-year-old Madison Keys at Flushing Meadows . Her ranking will now soar to 17.
Stephens is the first American woman other than the Williams sisters to win a grand slam title in 15 years. With this result, four different players won this year's majors, the first time that's happened since 2014. Serena Williams won the Australian Open, Jelena Ostapenko was the French Open champion, and Garbine Muguruza lifted the Wimbledon. This is also a sign of a change of guard in women's tennis.
Before her unbelievable triumph at the US Open, the 24-year-old's 2017 earnings stood at $310,000 and her 7-year-long professional career earnings at $4.5 million. But the triumph at Flushing Meadows now makes her $3.7m richer taking her career earnings to $8m. She is also likely to make millions more in endorsement deals courtesy of her triumph.
Solane Stephen's maiden Grand Slam triumph capped one of the greatest comebacks, having just recovered from a serious foot injury. Prior to arriving in New York, Stephens was ranked 957. A right foot stress fracture forced her to withdraw from the US Open last August. In January she had to undergo surgery and left her unable to walk for 16 long weeks. Stephen made her return at the Wimbledon two months ago, but was ousted in the first round. She even lost the first round at Washington. The 24-year-old now has more wins at this year's US Open (7) than she had in her six Grand Slam appearances combined.
Four years ago she first grabbed the headlines beating compatriot and world no1 Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarter-finals. She would go on to lose to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka. Her first singles title came in 2015 in Washington. Stephen's then added three more titles in 2016. But that momentum was then halted due to injury, keeping her on the sidelines for 11-long months.But fifteen wins out of 17 matches later, she is tennis' newest Grand Slam champion and $3.7 million richer.