SAN DIEGO, January 22, 2013 – The last time an American not named Williams made it to a major tennis tournament semifinal, it was Lindsey Davenport in 2005. The last time a teenager made it to a Grand Slam semifinal was Serena Williams at the U.S. Open in 2001. The last time Serena Williams lost to a player younger than her? Never, until today.
Nineteen-year-old Sloane Stephens muscled her way back from the brink of losing a second set to win against Williams in the 2013 Australian Open quarterfinals, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. It was her first Grand Slam quarterfinal win; it was the first loss since August 17 for the 15-time Grand Slam winner Williams and the shocker of the season’s first major tournament.
After the biggest win of her young career, Stephens said she simply decided to fight and have fun. She said she would keep doing exactly what she’s been doing including having meals at the same restaurants and following the same routine.
Sloane said she hoped after the win she’d get more Twitter followers. It’s @sloanetweets if you’d like to boost her numbers. She had 28,500 or so followers she had at the time the match ended; an hour later she had 16,000 new followers. Stephens will be happy to learn she’s a Top Ten trending topic on Twitter in the U.S.
Williams was admittedly not 100 percent. After suffering an ankle injury early in the tournament, Williams appeared to suffer a back problem after a drop shot in the second set. In the post-match news conference, Williams said it limited her ability to twist and rotate, but made no excuses for the loss. “At this point of the tournament everyone in the locker room has something wrong.”
Stephens won’t have much time to savor her victory. She moves on tomorrow to face number one seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus Wednesday. Azarenka defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, 7-5, 6-1 after overcoming some early jitters in the match. Her most famous fan, American rapper Redfoo of LMFAO, cheered her on from the stands wearing a shirt reading “Keep Calm and Bring Out The Bottles.”
Sixth ranked Li Na of China plays second ranked Maria Sharapova in the other semifinal match. Sharapova has powered through her matches, losing just nine of 69 total games the entire tournament.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She writes on professional cycling and covers the Sweet Science for Communities, along with other news in the sports world. Read Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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