Stephens outlasts Linette on clay in Rouen

Sloane Stephen @ Getty Images

Sloane Stephens captured her first title in more than two years as she out-scrapped Magda Linette in the final set on Sunday to win the Rouen clay-court tournament 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.

The 31-year-old American, seeded No 6, needed two hours and 10 minutes to win a match of momentum swings.

For Stephens, the 2017 US Open winner who is now ranked 39 in the world, it was a first title since winning in Guadalajara, Mexico, in February 2022 in what was also her last appearance in a tour final.

After Linette opened the match by holding serve, Stephens broke serve three times to gallop to the first set.

Linette responded by breaking in the third and fifth games of the second set.

Stephens took the decider after a string of marathon games.

She held after four deuces in the third game, took the next game on a third break point, and broke again, on a fourth break point, in the sixth game.

Linette broke back at once after surviving three match points. Then the unseeded Pole saved two more match points before Stephens broke for victory.