Serena defeats Sloane Stephens to enter last-16 as fresh controversy hits US Open

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Serena Williams beat Sloane Stephens after a slow start to inch closer to her record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title in the US Open third round at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday. William raised above her competition as she came from one set down to defeat the 2017 champion 2-6, 6-2,6-2 in an intense encounter.

Williams would be playing against Maria Sakkari, who is seed 15 in the quarterfinals. The Greek player shocked Williams last month at the Western & Southern Open. She progressed to the quarterfinals defeating the 22nd seed American Amana Anisimova.

Surprisingly, the unranked Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, who was playing her first tournament in three years, thwarted Donna Vekic who was, seeded 18.

However, day 6 was fresh with controversy after New York health officials ordered the top women’s doubles pair to withdraw over coronavirus restrictions. No 1 seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos were pulled out off the court from the doubles game after Kristina came in contact with French compatriot Benoit Paire, who tested positive for the virus last weekend.

The United States Tennis Association said that the rules set by local public health authorities prevented players commuting from their hostel to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The shocking intervention came a day after officials tried to prevent Adrian Mannarino as he had been in contact with Paire from his last-32 match. Both Adrian and Kristina were two of the 11 players put under strict safety protocols on Monday after Paire was withdrawn following his positive test.