Fourth-ranked Sloane Stephens is routed in first match at BNP Paribas Open


The BNP Paribas Open takes place from March 4-17, 2019.
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Earlier this week at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Sloane Stephens spoke about her split with longtime coach Kamau Murray before the start of this year. She spoke of searching for a new voice on her team and that she prefers someone who doesn’t talk to her during matches.

Two days later, in her first match at the BNP Paribas Open, the fourth-ranked player in the world could have used someone to talk her through what became a disastrous 6-3, 6-0 loss to unseeded Stefanie Voegele, who is ranked 109th.

Stephens, who won the 2017 U.S. Open and reached last year’s French Open final, came here without a coach and was perhaps the best hope to become the first American woman to win this event since 2001. But her results at Indian Wells have been mixed in recent years, and she has won just four of eight matches since reaching the quarterfinals in 2014.

She says it is sometimes difficult to maintain her focus at Indian Wells because being an American player at…

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