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Sloane Stephens eliminated in first round of Australian Open

Sloane Stephens of the United States reacts in

Sloane Stephens of the United States reacts in her first round match against Shuai Zhang of China on day one of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. Credit: Getty Images / Quinn Rooney

MELBOURNE, Australia — Sloane Stephens has lost her eighth consecutive match since her Grand Slam breakthrough title at last year’s U.S. Open.

Stephens was serving for the match in the second set against Zhang Shuai in the first round at the Australian Open on Monday but lost 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2.

It was a tough first-rounder for Stephens — Zhang is ranked 34th and just outside the top 32 that would have seen the Chinese player seeded for the tournament.

Stephens didn’t play last year’s Australian Open because of a left foot injury that kept her out of action until Wimbledon. After her U.S. Open final win over fellow American Madison Keys, she lost her next six matches — four at tournaments in China and twice in the Fed Cup final — then opened the year with a first-round loss at last week’s Sydney International.

New York Sports