The hottest new face in tennis will be on center stage Arthur Ashe stadium Sunday when Sloane Stephens meets World No. 1 Serena Williams in the US Open fourth round.
In this new rivalry, Serena beat Sloane in Brisbane in January. A few weeks later Sloane got Serena back in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.
Fueled by comments Sloane made in the ESPN the Magazine, the relationship between these two top Americans women has soured as the war of words ensued.
“It’s definitely been a learning experience from January till now,” Sloane said, adding she had no regrets for any of her statements. “I think I’ve had, you know, a lot of learning experiences. I’ve had a great year. I’m really pleased with the way it’s gone. Obviously it’s the last slam of the year. You want to do as best you can. All you can do is go out there and do your best. Obviously, that’s it: just go out and play hard, just see what happens.
“Obviously we’re coworkers, we’re Fed Cup teammates. But other than that, everything else is private. It’s fine.”
Sunday they’ll finally meet again on the court.
“As I always say, I think it will be epic,” Sloane said yesterday after beating American No. 3 Jamie Hampton. “I’m really looking forward to it. See what happens.”
Serena, who’s taken the higher road thus far, commented on the match following a very late victory last night.
“I think it will be a good match,” Serena said. “I think she’s playing really well. I’ll have a really tough match. I definitely don’t feel like I’m going in there as a favorite because she’s playing great, even though I’m playing good, too. She really has nothing to lose and she excels in situations like that. So I think she’ll be really good. I’ll just have to see how it goes.”
With Agnieszka Radawanska, Sloana and Serena are the only women to reach the fourth round at all four Slams this year.
The match will be played Sunday afternoon.
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