Serena Williams is out. Sloane Stephens is in. Sloane Stephens, 19, introduced herself to the world Wednesday by defeating 31 year old, Serena Williams in the Australian Open, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Williams is a 15-time Grand Slam singles champion and was the No. 3 seed and a heavy favorite at the Australian Open. However, Williams hurt her back in the eighth game of the second set, hampering her serve. She yelled at herself on several occasions, and smashed a racket into the court, earning a $1,500 fine from tournament officials.
Williams’ Grand Slam Down Under started badly when she turned her right ankle in her opening match at Melbourne Park.
“I’ve had a tough two weeks between the ankle … and my back, which started hurting,” Williams said.
As a result of the Williams’ lost there will be no rematch between Williams and the world No. 1, Victoria Azarenka, in the semifinals Thursday. Instead it will be Azarenka vs. the 29th-seeded Stephens, who until this trip to Australia had never been past the fourth round in a Grand Slam tournament.
According to Sports Illustrated, the No. 29-seeded Stephens hadn’t been given much of a chance of beating Williams, who lost only four matches in 2012 and was in contention to regain the No. 1 ranking at the age of 31.
Williams’ latest winning streak included a straight-set win over Stephens at the Brisbane International this month.
Stephens wasn’t even sure that she could beat Williams until she woke up Wednesday.
“When I got up, I was like, `Look, Dude, like, you can do this.’ Like, `Go out and play and do your best,” she said.
Williams walked around the net to congratulate Stephens, who then clapped her hand on her racket and waved to the crowd, a look of disbelief on her face.
Stephens has said she had a photo of Williams in her room when she was a child, and had long admired the Williams sisters.
“This is so crazy. Oh my goodness,” Stephens said, wiping away tears in her post-match TV interview. “I think I’ll put a poster of myself (up) now.”