Sloane Stephens: Here To Stay
This year’s semi-finals of tennis’ U.S. Open there is a lot of “black girl magic.” Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Venus Williams, who, along with CoCo Vandeweghe, are the four American women to reach the 2017 US Open quarterfinals. This is the first time in US Open history that three African-American women have reached the quarterfinals of the last Grand Slam event of the season.
Twenty-four year old Stephens started to get major buzz in 2013, when at 19 she beat Serena Williams to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open and made a run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals during the summer. Stephens has beaten Venus Williams in their only encounter to date, 7-6(5), 6-1 in the first round of Roland Garros in 2015. Stephens would go on to reach the fourth round. And just now, she won against Venus Williams in the 2017 U.S. Open semi-finals and will go on to face Madison Keys in the Finals.
Sloane comes from a very athletic family. Her mother, Sybil Smith, was an All-American swimmer at Boston University; her father, NFL running back, John Stephens. Sloane took up tennis at age nine, just to occupy herself while her mother played tennis with friends. After turning pro in 2009, Sloane capped a successful junior tennis career, ultimately winning the junior French, Wimbledon and US Open doubles titles in 2010. A year later (at the age of 18) she became the youngest player in the Top 100. Known for her powerful forehand, Sloane has had successful runs in the Grand Slams—reaching the semifinals at Australia (2013), the quarters at Wimbledon (2013) and the fourth round of the French and US Opens and she has won three professional tournaments.