This was 19-year old Sloane Stephens first quarter final match at a major tournament. Stephens beat Serena Williams 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the Australian Open. Even coming off her incredible season last year, which included an Olympic run, you can’t help but think the tides are changing in women’s tennis. Stephens has been a protege so to speak of Serena Williams. Stephens is the daughter of former NFL player John Stephens.
Williams has provided Stephens with a lot of advice. Sharing her thoughts on the teenager’s groundstrokes, and grunts. It’s been mostly gentle encouragement, occasionally spiced with headline-making comments from Williams, who has predicted the 19-year-old American will one day top the women’s rankings.
Serena seemed to run the full gamut of emotions during this match. Anger, frustration, pain, they were all there including a smashed racket.
Serena took control early, but the second match proved to be the wild card. Williams has never faired very well when she attempts to play through an injury. Williams said injury is no excuse. Everyone is playing with some injury at this point in a match. Williams suffered from back spasms during the second set and injured her ankle during a loss doubles in a doubles match with her sister Venus on . The loss to Stephens ends a 20-win streak for Serena that dates back to August of 2012.
Next up for Sloane, shell face off against the No. 1 seed in the tournament, Victoria Azarenka.
video via Australian Open TV