A look at up-and-comer Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens playing against Caroline Wozniacki Thursday night in the China Open. Sloane lost in two sets.

Sloane Stephens played against Caroline Wozniacki Thursday night in the China Open. Stephens lost in two sets.

Sloane Stephens is being called “the next great hope for American tennis” so I had to see her here in Beijing. I wasn’t disappointed.

Stephens didn’t fare that well, losing to Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1. But the kid is only 20 years old and you can definitely see the potential. She’s being called the next Serena Williams, but why not the next Venus? I think it has to do with body type maybe as much as game style.

Talk about her started when she beat Serena 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of

the Australian Open back in January, when she was 19. But Williams was hurt then and gave Stephens a beat down last month at the US Open, winning 6-4, 6-1.

Stephens had hoped to crack the WTA top 10 by the end of the year but it doesn’t look like that will happen. She’s currently at No. 13, with Nos. 11 and 12 still alive in the China Open.

So who is Sloane? She’s a right-handed native Floridian has been playing tennis since she was 9 and it appears she turned pro in 2010. She rose to No. 5 in junior rankings, but hasn’t yet won a professional tournament. She plays with Head racquets and wears Under Armor clothing. And she’s been on Ellen and has the poster to prove it.

Her parents were athletes: pro football player John Stephens (deceased) and Boston University swimmer Sybil Smith. She has a younger brother, Shawn Farrell.

I’ll be following her career; maybe we’ll both be back in Beijing next year.

Note: Some other rising stars in women’s tennis are Madison Keys, Jamie Hampton, Vicky Duval and Taylor Townsend.

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