Sloane Stephens sat at a ta­ble for her post­match news con­fer­ence, eyed the big glass tro­phy sit­ting at arm's length, and asked, ''What hap­pens to this?''

For­give the 22-year-old Amer­i­can for not know­ing. She's never been given cham­pi­onship hard­ware at a pro­fes­sional tour­na­ment be­fore.

Stephens earned a WTA ti­tle for the first time Sun­day, over­whelm­ing Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkova of Rus­sia 6-1, 6-2 in the fi­nal of the hard-court Citi Open.

''Noth­ing was rushed. Noth­ing was given to me. I had to work for ev­ery­thing. It was just nice that all of the hard work and ev­ery­thing I've put into it - now I can say that I have a tour­na­ment ti­tle,'' Stephens said. ''Ev­ery­thing hap­pens when it's sup­posed to hap­pen.'' It was her first fi­nal as a pro.

En­ter­ing this tuneup for the U.S. Open, she owned a .685 ca­reer win­ning per­cent­age at Grand Slam tour­na­ments, in­clud­ing get­ting to the sec­ond week in seven ap­pear­ances, with a semi­fi­nal show­ing at the Aus­tralian Open and quar­ter­fi­nal run at Wim­ble­don, both in 2013. But at lesser events, her win­ning per­cent­age was only .524.

At Washington, for ex­am­ple, she was just 3-4 be­fore this year, with three first-round ex­its. But Stephens did not lose a set dur­ing her four vic­to­ries this week, high­lighted by a semi­fi­nal win over 2011 U.S. Open cham­pion Sam Sto­sur on Satur­day.

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