NEW YORK - Sloane Stephens never looked shaken by the setting or the stakes in her first Grand Slam final. Her opponent, Madison Keys, most definitely did.
Stephens, a Palmetto Pro Open alum, easily beat her close friend Keys 6-3, 6-0 to win the U.S. Open on Saturday, capping a remarkably rapid rise after sitting out 11 months because of foot surgery.
"I should just retire now," Stephens joked. "I told Maddie I'm never going to be able to top this. I mean, talk about a comeback."
The 83rd-ranked Stephens, who beat Venus Williams in the semifinals, is only the second unseeded woman to win the tournament in the Open era, which began in 1968.
A year ago, she sat out the U.S. Open altogether because of what turned out to be a stress fracture in her left foot. She had an operation in January, and made her season debut at Wimbledon in July, exiting in the first round. Lost her next match, too, in Washington.
Since then, she has gone 15-2, and her ranking has soared from outside the top 900 to what will be around No. 20 as of Monday. Oh, and, don't forget: She is now, and forever will be, a Grand Slam champion.
"I mean, things just have to come together," Stephens said, "and the last six weeks, five weeks, they really have."
Indians win 17th in a row
CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Indians earned their 17th straight win Saturday, topping the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 behind a pair of timely swings for Jay Bruce and Francisco Lindor.
Bruce's fourth-inning single put the Indians ahead for good as Cleveland became just the second team in the expansion era - since 1961 - to win 17 straight in a season.
Cleveland's franchise-record streak is the longest in the majors since Oakland won 20 straight in 2002.
Thompson seals Indy win with kiss of bricks
INDIANAPOLIS - Lexi Thompson pulled away from Lydia Ko on Saturday to win the inaugural Indy Women in Tech Championship for her second victory of the year and ninth career LPGA Tour title.
Tied with Ko entering the final round at Brickyard Crossing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Thompson closed with a 4-under 68 for a four-stroke victory over Ko. The 22-year-old Thompson finished at 19-under 197.
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