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NEW YORK (AP) : Sloane Stephens knocked off 2014 Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 to reach the third round of the U.S. Open.

Stephens is a 24-year-old American who is ranked only 83rd after going 11 months without entering a tournament because of an injured left foot that required surgery. She returned to the tour at Wimbledon in July.

Stephens and the 11th-seeded Cibulkova each made the same number of unforced errors, 39. The difference in the match was the winner count: Stephens had 43, nearly double Cibulkova’s 22.

Not too long ago, Stephens appeared to be a rising star in tennis, making at least the fourth round at six consecutive Grand Slam tournaments, including a semifinal run at the 2013 Australian Open. If she can beat Ashleigh Barty next, Stephens would get to the fourth round at a major for the first time in nearly 2 1/2 years.

Venus Williams has reached the third round for the seventh Grand Slam tournament in a row.

The 37-year-old Williams got broken while serving for each set but played well enough to hold off her big-hitting — and much younger — opponent, beating 20-year-old Oceane Dodin of France 7-5, 6-4 at the U.S. Open.

Williams won two of her seven major titles at Flushing Meadows, back in 2000 and 2001.

PHOTO: AP

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