Sloane Stephens is celebrating her biggest victory to date as she rolled over Serena Williams to head into the semifinals of the Australian Open. ESPN reported on Jan. 23 that the wide-eyed tennis player gave it her all to yank Williams out of the tournament.
The 19-year-old seemed to stay calm and kept herself in focus, even after Williams cried out in pain when she hurt her back during the eighth game in the second set. Her serve seemed to suffer from the pain but that only added fuel to Stephens’ fire as she took full advantage of it. She went on to victory in a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over the No. 3 seed. This ended Williams’ run of 20 consecutive wins since Aug. 17, 2012.
The 15-time Grand Slam champ was expected to beat the teen as she was striving to regain her number one ranking. However, things had not gone well from the start for her. Williams had turned her ankle during her opening match in Melbourne. Now with her back injury, her shocking elimination from the first Grand Slam event of the year has the tennis champ disappointed. "I'm almost relieved that it's over because there's only so much I felt I could do," the 31-year-old said afterwards. "It's been a little difficult. I've been thrown a lot of (curve) balls these two weeks." Her frustration definitely showed when she went on to smash her racket and threw it off to the side in the third set.
Stephens played her best shots and became more aggressive on the court. The teen seemed to settle right in to concentrate on beating the tennis icon. She admits to have had a photo of Williams up on her wall when she was small. "This is so crazy. Oh my goodness," she said in a post-match interview. "I think I'll put a poster of myself (up) now." Just like a typical teenager, Stephens pulled her cell phone out before she even left the court to check for any messages from her mom after her epic win. "I was hoping she had texted me right away. I thought maybe she was texting me during the match," Stephens said. "I'm sure my grandparents are like freaking out." The No. 29 seed didn’t seem to be freaking out but her excitement was evident in her huge smile.
Sloane Stephens will now meet defending champion Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals of the Australian Open.