Quantcast
Latest Stories

Teen shocks Serena Williams, reaches semis at Australian Open


Sloane Stephens, left, of the US is congratulated by compatriot Serena Williams after winning their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/ Julian Finney ,Pool)

MELBOURNE — American teenager Sloane Stephens sent the Australian Open women’s draw into disarray Wednesday when she dumped injury-hit hot favourite Serena Williams out of the quarterfinals.

Stephens, only 19 and without a tournament victory, held her nerve in almost unbearable tension at Rod Laver Arena to close out a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 win after Williams needed treatment for back spasms.

“This is so crazy,” said Stephens, who used to have a poster of Williams on her bedroom wall. “I think I’ll put a poster of myself up now.”

Stephens, 19, regarded as Williams’ successor as the force of women’s tennis in the United States, now goes into a semi-final against world number one and defending champion Victoria Azarenka, who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova.

US Open champion Andy Murray, bidding to become the only man ever to win his first two Grand Slam titles back-to-back, beat Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 to set up a semi-final against Roger Federer or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Williams, 31, had not been beaten since August and picked up titles at Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open last year, but she now sees her bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam falter at the first hurdle.

She also falls one short match of equalling her best-ever winning streak of 21 matches, and is denied the chance to become the oldest world number one since computer rankings were first devised in 1975.

But she said she was “almost relieved” her tournament was over after rolling her ankle just minutes into her first match in Melbourne, a problem which she believes had the knock-on effect of straining her back.

“Absolutely,” she said, when asked if it was the worst time she had had at a Grand Slam.

“Oh, my gosh, I’m almost relieved that it’s over because there’s only so much I felt I could do… oh my gosh, it’s been a little difficult. I’ve been thrown a lot of balls these two weeks.

Williams won the first set but at 3-4 in the second, she pulled up with back spasms and later called for the trainer. As she served at half-pace, Stephens was eventually able to capitalize as she levelled at a set each.

Williams recovered sufficiently to break in the tense decider but Stephens broke back and then broke again to claim the victory of her life.

“Today I just really didn’t have anything to lose. I mean, you’re playing for the semis of a Grand Slam. You just got to go out and do it really,” Stephens said.

In Thursday’s semi-finals Stephens will face top seed Azarenka, who came through a marathon, 1-hour 17-minute opening set against resurgent Russian veteran Kuznetsova before completing her 7-5, 6-1 triumph in 1hour 47 minutes.

“She played really well throughout the whole match,” Azarenka said. “At the beginning, it took adjustment because she plays such a different game.

“I’m glad I fought through and produced my best tennis when it was needed.”

Murray produced his best performance of the men’s tournament so far to send unseeded Frenchman Chardy spinning out.

Murray broke Chardy’s service eight times and played a clean match with 32 winners against 20 unforced errors, as he extended his Grand Slam winning streak to 12 matches and reached his 12th major semi-final.

“Today was the best I’ve played. I’ve struggled in my last few rounds a little bit, my last opponent (Gilles Simon) was injured so it wasn’t much of a match as he struggled physically,” Murray said.

“Jeremy’s had a great tournament, he’s beat some top players so I needed to come out sharp and get off to a good start.

Four-time champion Federer was due to play Tsonga, the 2008 runner-up, in the evening match on Rod Laver Arena.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.


Tags: Australian Open , Serena Williams



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement

News

  • 4 Etihad passengers not yet located
  • DAR to complete installation of Luisita land reform beneficiaries in May
  • Ex-COA chief and co-accused in Arroyo plunder case nabbed
  • Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  • The ‘link diagram’ that killed ex-Bataan police officer
  • Sports

  • More concessions, but still no direct hires for PBA expansion teams
  • Power Pinays lose to Vietnam, try to salvage 7th place
  • NLEX holds off Jumbo Plastic for a playoff berth
  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Lifestyle

  • Summer Mayhem: The ultimate beach experience
  • A haven for steak lovers
  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • DOLE sees more Filipinos hired by South Koreans
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Marketplace