*A compelling story is emerging out of all the doubt surrounding American tennis. A young African American female, by the name of Sloane Stephens, is quietly, but surely making major inroads into becoming, according to tennis legend John McEnroe, “the next American superstar.”
En route to taking out former French Open champion and top ten player, Francesca Schiavone  of Italy, at Armstrong stadium on Day 2 of the 2012 US Open, it was apparent that Stephens not only has the easy power and versatility required to become great, but she also has the ability to remain cool under pressure and close out big matches. Dangerously down 0-30 in what was to be her opportunity to serve it out for the win, Stephens blazed an ace down the tee, knocked Schiavone off balance with daring, but powerful ground strokes and emphatically took out the accomplished, seeded Italian, 6-3, 6-4.
Being that she’s a young AA woman with promise, she’s long been compared to Serena Williams … but it doesn’t stop there; she has the relationship with the superstar to back it up:
“We just love each other, we’re so goofy together … she’s taught me to be patient,” she said of the relationship she’s forged with Williams.
Sloane, 19, hails from Plantation, FL, and trains under the USTA full-time. She’s played for the US Fed Cup team and almost made the Olympics, but fell a little short in the rankings. But, her deep runs at majors – claiming big named scalps along the way – stemming back from early last year and her potential to continue to do well at this year’s US Open will certainly earn her a fair shot at the Beijing Olympics in 2016 and quite possibly a top ten ranking at some point in the future.
“I just believe in myself a lot more and I just know that whatever I put my mind to and I focus on and I really want to do, I do it,” she said. “It’s not that I just decided, but I decided that tennis is what I love and that’s what I just really want to do.”
Sloane Stephens, currently ranked no. 49, has great athletic ability, a big game and a winning personality to boot:
“She has a great smile, a beautiful face … I think she has such a wonderful personality and attitude. So, yeah, I think it’s totally possible,” Williams said of Sloane becoming the next tennis superstar.
If all goes according to plan and aligns with McEnroe and Williams’ predictions, watch for Stephens to rise to the top.
Other first-round results from Day 2 for American contenders:
The Williams sisters made quick work of their first round opponents.Venus Williams, who’s turning out to be the US Open sentimental favorite, convincingly took out fellow American, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-3 6,1 on Arthur Ashe in the first round. She was “vintage Venus,” utilizing her powerful serve, thunderous ground strokes and impenetrable net play to seal the deal.
Serena Williams  played the final night match on Ashe – supported by friends Carmelo and Lala Anthony – outweighing Coco Vanderweghe in straight sets, 6,1 6,1. Vanderweghe, also American, had given Serena a challenge over the summer at Stanford, but had no such luck with an in-form and well-rested Serena Williams.
Veteran and former US Open champion Andy Roddick  overcame fellow American, Rhyne Williams, in three sets that were more entertaining than the 6-3 6-4 6-4 score line captured. Rhyne held on with creative and confident play, but Roddick was too much for the tennis upstart. Roddick is working to steady his career after an up and down 2012 season.
Donald Young was consoled from his first round loss to Federer as he and doubles partner, Nicholas Monroe, took out the 7th-seeded team of Michael Llodra (FRA) and Nenad Zmonjic (SRB) in doubles.
Steve Johnson and Jack Sock upset no.1 seeds, Max Mirnyi (BLR) and Daniel Nestor (CAN), 1-6 7-6(4) 6-2 in doubles.
Sam Querrey  self-corrected and ultimately knocked out Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) in four sets, 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 7-5.
Irina Falconi lost the battle to Olga Puchkova (RUS), 7-6(5) 6-7(2) 6-3.
Jesse Levine fell to the crafty Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) , 3-6 4-6 6-1 6-2
Vania King was dismissed by hard-hitting and serving Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan, 6-4 6-2.
Christina McHale  couldn’t hang on in a weary loss to unseeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, 4-6 6-4 3-6.
Christian Harrison and Ryan Harrison handled doubles team Mariusz Fyrstenberg (POL) and
Marcin Matkowski(POL), 7-6(3) 2-6 7-6(7).
Check USopen.org for more results.
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