Sloane Stephens, 19-year-old American tennis player, won a match against Serena Williams at the Australian Open 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Williams, 31, lost four matches in 2012, making her close to regaining the number one ranking.
This match was the first Williams lost since Aug. 17 and her first Grand Slam tournament defeat since last year’s French Open, all a result of Sloan Stephens’s determination.
”When I got up, I was like, ‘Look, dude, like, you can do this.’ Like, ‘Go out and play and do your best,’” Stephens told CBS News.
According to Stephens, she had a picture of Williams in her room when she was growing up and had long admired the work and success of the Williams sisters.
During the match, Williams went from dominating the first set to having difficulty with the next two, having to leave the court because of a back injury during the second set and breaking a racket out of frustration during the third set.
She told reporters, “A few days ago [my back] got really tight and I had no rotation on it and I went for this drop shot in the second set and it locked up on it, and I couldn’t really rotate after that.”
Stephens took the win professionally, getting emotional about her success during a television interview after the match, and said of advancing to the semifinals, “It’s a new thing, but it’s fun.” She also commented on hoping to have more Twitter followers as a result of her success.
According to the Boston Globe, Stephens’s mother Sybil Smith remains on the Boston University Hall of Fame for her accomplishments as a swimmer while attending the school. Stephens’s late father is John Stephens, Patriots running back from 1988-93, killed in a car accident in 2009 at age 43.
Stephens’s Twitter followers did increase from about 17,000 to 35,000, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Stephens continues her competition in the Australian Open this Saturday.