Rising American tennis sensation Sloane Stephens hopes to make the world take notice with her fast-developing game. The unseeded 19-year-old quickly made a believer out of former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone, upsetting the Italian in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, to advance at the second day of play at Flushing Meadows.
The victory is the latest added affirmation that Stephens, who is currently ranked 44th in the world, has bigger things ahead. She advanced to the third round of last year’s U.S. Open before making it to the fourth round of this year’s French Open and to Wimbledon’s third round.
Her blistering match-point winner down brought the fans to their feet, leaving a blushing Stephens to just smile and wave to her captive audience.
“This year has been unbelievable,” she told the New York Times following the match. “It’s been so much fun. I think I’ve learned so much that I’m like, ‘Wow, 2012 has been pretty good to me.’ ”
Stephens’ powerful forehand was the difference in the match and proved too much for Schiavone, the 2010 French Open winner who had rallied from a two-game deficit in the first set only for Stephens to storm back.
Stephens broke Schiavone twice in the second set.
Like her game, her celebrity is just starting to take off as well, as evidenced by the bevy of posters of her all about Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I just think it’s so cool,” Stephens said of the attention. “I’m like, ‘Wow, that is awesome.’ I love seeing myself. I think other people love seeing me, too, so it all works out.”
In other news for the day, Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu notched the biggest upset yet in the tournament, downing eighth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, 6-2, 6-2.
Christina McHale, who was the second-highest seeded American at No. 21, fell to Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. Bertens was able to win the match despite falling sick in the second set.