Serena Williams avenged herself on Sloane Stephens, the pretender to the American throne, with a straight sets win that sent her into the quarter-finals of the US Open. She is not ready to give up her crown just yet.
The last time these two met, in the quarter-finals of January’s Australian Open, Stephens pulled off one of the great shocks of the tennis year with her three-set win over an ailing Williams, who made sure to remind everyone afterwards of how badly she was suffering with a sprained ankle.
The relationship between the two women went from superficially warm to deeply frosty after that result. For this tournament, though, they have put on a front of professional courtesy.
After her 6-4, 6-1 defeat yesterday, Stephens was asked how she felt about landing on the same side as Williams and replied “Maybe one day when she's not playing people will be saying, ‘I wish I wasn't on the same side as Sloane.’
“I think she's obviously No. 1 in the world for a reason,” Stephens added. “She's earned every opportunity she's gotten. I think she makes the most out of every time she's on the court. But everyone has their time to shine.”
Meanwhile there was a victory for British doubles players Jonny Marray and Colin Fleming that has earned them a shot at the world’s No. 1 players Bob and Mike Bryan on Arthur Ashe Stadium today.
The ultimate feat in tennis is on the line at this year’s US Open, as the Bryan brothers chase the victory that would complete their “golden slam” - in other words handing them all four major tournaments as well as the Olympic title.
But Marray has beaten them before, during his partnership with Freddie Nielsen that claimed the 2012 Wimbledon men’s doubles title. If he can reprise the feat, he will change the path of tennis history.