When 19-year-old Sloane Stephens bested her tennis idol at the Australian Open quarterfinals Wednesday, she handed 31-year-old Serena Williams her first defeat from a younger player during her entire professional career. Now, that’s a statistic. Remember, Williams is a 15-time Grand Slam singles champion and was a heavy favorite.
Stephens was the 29th seed who had never made it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament and grew up with a poster of Williams on her wall. With her surprising victory, she catapulted to the tournament’s next round, but also the ranks of Google’s trends. Although Stephens would go on to lose 6-1, 6-4 to the tournament's No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, she's putting people on notice.
But just who is the rising tennis star? She is a girl who began playing tennis at age nine and turned professional in October 2009, according to her website. She’s a young woman whose goal “is to become the best person and player that she can be.” She’s a person whose ascendant career brought her face-to-face with a tennis icon and she won.
Meet Sloane Stephens. Get to know her. She may be around a while. Here are 10 facts to get you acquainted with the woman who may carry the tennis torch in a post-Williams sisters era.