CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — American Sloane Stephens was upset 6-4, 6-4 by Elina Svitolina at the Family Circle Cup, losing to the 35th-ranked Ukrainian on Wednesday.
The 18th-ranked Stephens fell to the 19-year-old Svitolina, who earned her fourth career victory over a top 20 player — the third coming last week at the tournament near Miami.
The 21-year-old Stephens gave credit to her opponent, who moved up seven spots to reach a career-high ranking this week.
"She played pretty well, and it's just unfortunate that I lost, but I mean, you can just learn from the mistakes and things like that and build on it," Stephens said.
Last week at the Sony Open, Svitolina defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Eugenie Bouchard and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova before losing to No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska.
"I started to believe more in myself that I can compete with players like this, top level, top 20 and top 10," said Svitolina, who is making her first appearance on the green clay in Charleston. "I think this is the key, that I believe more in myself and I play more solid from the baseline and trying to go forward to finish the point earlier."
Second-seeded Jelena Jankovic, the highest seeded player remaining after top-ranked Serena Williams was upset Tuesday, plays Wednesday night against American Lauren Davis. The 28th-ranked Venus William faces Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa later Wednesday.
Stephens says she's looking forward to a long career.
"If I play 10 more years of tennis, until I'm 31, that's a lot of tennis to be played," Stephens said. "I could win the next Grand Slam or I could win one in six years and that would still be, you know, if I had pretty decent results and I was pretty consistent, I think that would still be pretty good."
In other matches, Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia defeated American qualifier Grace Min 6-2, 6-3. Elena Vesnina of Russia stopped Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.