WHAT HAPPENED: Sloane Stephens, the American who returned with a vengeance earlier this summer from 11 months off the tour, continued her winning ways Sunday afternoon. The American beat 30th seed Julia Goerges of Germany, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to advance to her first US Open quarterfinal round.
After a disappointing second set, Stephens, 24, rebounded in the third, reigning in her errors and playing more offensive, but still controlled, tennis.
Stephens, who only six months ago was confined to a wheelchair after surgery on her left foot for a severe stress fracture, has now won 12 of her last 14 matches.
Earlier this summer, in just her third and fourth tournaments of the year, Stephens reached the semifinals in both Toronto and Cincinnati, defeating the Grand Slam champions Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.
"When I first came back at Wimbledon I was super nervous that it wasn't going to go my way" said Stephens on court after her victory. "I was afraid that the results weren't going to come the way I wanted them to."
"But I honestly couldn't have asked for a better comeback and a better way to come back to the tour," she said. "Obviously making quarterfinals here is unbelievable."
Under gray, threatening skies on Armstrong, Stephens played conservatively in the first set, allowing Goerges to self-destruct with a rash of unforced errors. The German began to connect in the middle set, however, and Stephens' level of play dropped precipitously.
The deciding set was all Stephens: she hit out with her forehand and dictated play to run away with the match. Goerges ended the match with 43 errors, compared to just 16 for Stephens.
On match point, the American crunched an easy overhead at the net and let out a satisfied shriek, her arms outstretched in victory.
WHAT IT MEANS: Stephens did not play the 2016 US Open, due to the stress fracture in her foot, and her last wins in Flushing Meadows were back in 2014. Her hot streak this summer has prompted her ranking to jump 783 spots, to her current No. 83.
Stephens improves to 5-1 over her good friend Goerges, to whom the American has never lost on hard courts.
"All week I've been giving her restaurant reservations," said Stephens about Goerges. "So I think she's going to make me take her to dinner since I beat her this time."
MATCH POINT: Stephens has surprised herself and everyone else with her emphatic run at the US Open -- where she has beaten the 2015 finalist Roberta Vinci and the No. 10 seed Dominika Cibulkova. In the quarterfinal, Stephens faces Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, the 16th seed who defeated Maria Sharapova. The two have never played, but Sloane is likely to be favored, given her current form.