Sloane Stephens, who is coming back from foot surgery, has upset Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber while reaching the quarterfinals of Toronto. Today, 9/15/2017,  she’s blazing through the Cincinnati Masters with a straight set win over Lucie Safarova in the round of 64.

The American got injured a year ago while playing in Canada, and has now scored the first wins of her comeback at the Canadian tournament. She returned to the tour at Wimbledon this year.

“It’s been such a long process and a long road, so just the pleasure of being able to compete again,” she said. Stephens says she’s fresh following her long layoff. Another advantage, Stephens said, was that she practiced a lot and could improve her game.

Sloane Stephens (born March 20, 1993) is an American tennis player who has won four singles titles on the WTA Tour.

Following a successful 2012 season in which she first reached the second week of a Grand Slam, Stephens rose to prominence upon reaching the semifinals of the 2013 Australian Open, notably defeating Serena Williams en route. Since then, she has reached a career-high singles ranking of 11 in the world and claimed her first WTA title at the2015 Citi Open.

Stephens was born in Plantation, Florida to Sybil Smith (who, in 1988 as a swimmer at Boston University, became the first African-American female to be named First Team All-American in Division I history) and John Milton Stephens (February 23, 1966 – September 1, 2009) who was an outstanding professional American football player and was selected by the New England Patriots in the “First Round (17th overall)” of the 1988 NFL Draft. At 6 feet 1 inch and 215 pounds, he was a running back from Northwestern State University in Louisiana. Stephens played in six NFL seasons from 1988 to 1993 for the Patriots, the Green Bay Packers, and the Kansas City Chiefs. As a rookie for the Patriots during the 1988 NFL season, Stephens rushed for 1,168 yards and was selected to the 1988 and 1989 NFL Pro Bowls, and also  NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR IN 1988.

John Stephens was killed in a car accident on September 1, 2009, just before the start of the US Open. Stephens attended her father’s funeral in Louisiana, but remained entered in the US Open. Stephens’ younger brother, Shawn Farrell, plays baseball and football at Notre Dame High School in Los Angeles.

She started playing tennis at the age of nine, at the Sierra Sport and Racquet Club, in Fresno, California, where her mother and stepfather introduced her to the sport. Two years later Stephens relocated from Fresno to Boca Raton, Florida, where she began training at the prestigious Evert Tennis Academy. A year later at the age of 12, Stephens stepped up her training once again by joining the Nick Saviano High Performance Tennis Academy, and switching to online-based home-schooling, which allowed her to maximize her time spent on the court. She graduated from high school in 2011. Stephens currently splits time between her home in Florida and Los Angeles, where she trains at the USTA training center in Carson, California. She stated that her favorite surface is clay when she entered the 2012 Wimbledon Championships.

She has cited Venus Williams and Serena Williams as her main inspirations in tennis. She also cited her grandfather as her biggest influence growing up.

Stephens is an all-court player. She hits her forehand with a large swing and as a result the shot can be either a strength or a weakness for her. Stephens sports a powerful two-handed backhand. Cross-court Sloane tends to hit a very steady ball, often hoping to run around her backhand in order to hit an aggressive forehand. Stephens often finishes points at the net and is a competent volleyer. In her 2013 Australian Open match against Serena Williams, she won 18 of 20 (90%) net points. She also has a good serve with a very fluid motion.

Stephens often stays well behind the baseline, relying on her athleticism to chase and return balls. She is capable of defending against powerfully-hit shots, and occasionally turns defensive shots into offensive shots. Fitness is one of Stephens’ biggest strengths on the tennis court.

Stephens had a breakthrough year in 2008, when she finished the US Open Junior doubles as runner-up alongside partner Mallory Burdette. Later at the Grade A Orange Bowl, she made it to the semifinals as a wildcard, before losing in three sets to compatriot Christina McHale.

Stephens continued her form in 2009, capturing the singles and doubles titles at Grade 1 USTA International Spring Championships (partnering Mallory Burdette). Stephens then traveled to Italy, where she captured the Grade A Italian Open singles title. The following week, Stephens participated in her first overseas junior Grand Slam, the French Open. As a qualifier, Stephens reached the semifinals, before losing to eventual champion Kristina Mladenovic.

The following month, Stephens reached the quarterfinals at the junior Wimbledon, before losing again to Mladenovic. Stephens reached a career-high junior ranking of world no. 5 on August 10, 2009.

Seeded fourth at the junior US Open, Stephens lost in three sets to 14th seed Jana Čepelová in the third round.

At the 2010 Junior Wimbledon Championship, Sloane made it to the quarterfinals of the singles and won the doubles title with Tímea Babos, winning a tough three-setter in the final.

Junior Grand Slam finals

Doubles: 4 finals (3 titles, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponent Score
Runner-Up 2008 US Open Hard United States Mallory Burdette Thailand Noppawan Lertcheewakarn
Sweden Sandra Roma
0–6, 2–6
Winner 2010 French Open Clay Hungary Tímea Babos Spain Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino
Spain María-Teresa Torró-Flor
6–2, 6–3
Winner 2010 Wimbledon Grass Hungary Tímea Babos Russia Irina Khromacheva
Ukraine Elina Svitolina
6–7(7–9), 6–2, 6–2
Winner 2010 US Open Hard Hungary Tímea Babos Belgium An-Sophie Mestach
Croatia Silvia Njirić

Professional career

2007–2009: Professional tour debut

Stephens played her first professional events on the ITF Circuit in late 2007. In spring 2008, Stephens received a wildcard into her first WTA event, the Sony Ericssson Open in Miami, but lost to Ekaterina Bychkova in the first round. During the summer, Stephens won a small ITF doubles tournament with partner Christina McHale. She received a wildcard into the US Open qualifying rounds, where she defeated seventh-seeded Melinda Czink, but then lost in straight sets to Stefanie Vögele.

In 2009, Stephens began the year playing several ITF tournaments with moderate success. She received another qualifying wildcard into the Sony Ericsson Open, losing in the first round to Akgul Amanmuradova. In the summer, Stephens received another qualifying wildcard into a WTA tournament: the LA Women’s Tennis Championships There, Stephens won her first WTA match against Lenka Wienerová, but fell in the second round of qualifying to Anastasia Rodionova.

2010–2011: Entering the top 100


Sloane Stephens at the 2011 Citi Open.

Stephens qualified for the 2010 BNP Paribas Open, where she defeated Lucie Hradecká in the first round. She then lost against the defending champion, 12th-seeded Vera Zvonareva. Stephens made another run at the 2011 BNP Paribas Open, where she defeated fellow American Jamie Hampton in the first round. In the second round, she lost to world no. 1, and eventual champion, Caroline Wozniacki. The next week, as a wildcard entry, she won both matches at the qualifying stage of the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open to qualify for a spot in the main draw. In May 2011, Stephens won the $50,000 2011 Camparini Gioielli Cup. It was her first tournament win on the ITF circuit. Stephens then participated in the qualifying draw of the French Open as the 21st seed. She beat Anastasia Pivovarova in the qualifying competition to qualify for the main draw event. She lost to Elena Baltacha in the first round.

At the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, Stephens was the 12th seed in qualifying. She lost in the second round to Nina Bratchikova. Following her improved performance at Wimbledon, she reached a career-high ranking of world no. 125 on July 4, 2011.

Stephens was given a wildcard in San Diego, Stephens made her first WTA quarterfinals, defeating Julia Görges en route. However, she lost to Andrea Petkovic in the quarterfinals. She then lost in the first round of Cincinnati and the final qualifying round of New Haven. Being granted a wildcard to the US Open, she won her first main-draw Grand Slam match by beating Réka-Luca Jani in the first round. She backed up this win by beating 23rd seed Shahar Pe’er in the second round. She then lost to former world no. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

Stephens ended the year as the youngest player in the year-end top 100, at no. 97.

2012: Teenage success

In 2012, Stephens reached the second round of the Australian Open, where she lost to 18th seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Stephens was then given a wildcard to play in the 2012 Indian Wells Masters, where she made it to the second round. She then qualified for the 2012 Miami Masters, where she advanced to the third round, defeating 30th seed Sara Errani in the second round. After the Miami Masters, she travelled to Ukraine, where she enlarged USA’s lead to 5-0 following a win with Liezel Huber in the doubles tie against Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nadiia Kichenok. After failing to qualify for the 2012 Madrid Masters, she qualified for the 2012 Internazionali BNL d’Italia and advanced to the second round.


Sloane Stephens at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships.

Stephens then traveled to Strasbourg. She advanced to the second round after Maria Kirilenko retired. Stephens then beat fellow teenager Tímea Babos, before advancing to the semifinals with a straight-set win over Ayumi Morita. Stephens was defeated in the semifinals by former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone. It was Stephens’ first trip to the semifinals of a WTA tournament.

Stephens advanced to the fourth round of the 2012 French Open by defeating Ekaterina Makarova, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and Mathilde Johansson. In the fourth round, she lost to sixth seed Samantha Stosur in two sets. She advanced to the third round of Wimbledon by defeating Karolína Plíšková in the first round and upsetting 23rd seed Petra Cetkovská in three sets in the second round. In the third round, she lost to German Sabine Lisicki.

Stephens travelled to Washington, D.C. to compete in the 2012 Citi Open. She was seeded third. She defeated Sesil Karatantcheva in the first round, Michelle Larcher de Brito in the second, and Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals, but fell toMagdaléna Rybáriková in the semifinals. In New Haven, she defeated seeded 33rd Austrian Tamira Paszek, but suffered a three-set loss to 11th seed Marion Bartoli.

In the 2012 US Open, she participated in Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles with Tímea Babos, and Mixed Doubles with Rajeev Ram. In the first round of singles, she stunned 22nd seed Francesca Schiavone in front of the home crowd in the Louis Armstrong stadium. She then defeated Tatjana Malek in the second round. Stephens then faced 12th seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. Stephens won first set, but Ivanovic eventually rallied to beat Stephens in three sets. In women’s doubles, she and Babos lost in the first round against Janette Husárová and Magdaléna Rybáriková. In mixed doubles, Stephens and Ram defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Horia Tecău, who were the champions in the 2012 Australian Open, but the pair retired in the second round. Later, Stephens said she had been playing with a torn abdominal muscle, which she initially injured during the fourth round at Roland Garros. “I kept playing when I shouldn’t have”, she told Tennis Now.

“Stephens ended the year as the youngest player in the year-end top 50, and the only teenager”.

Stephens began the year by reaching the quarterfinals of the 2013 Brisbane International, defeating Dominika Cibulková and Sofia Arvidsson en route before losing to Serena Williams in straight sets in the quarterfinals. The following week, Stephens reached the semi-finals of the 2013 Moorilla Hobart International, where she was seeded eighth. She defeated Laura Robson, Simona Halep and Lauren Davis en route before losing to the eventual champion, Elena Vesnina in straight sets. Stephens achieved a new career high singles ranking of World No. 25 following the event.

At the Australian Open, Stephens was seeded 29th. She defeated Halep, Kristina Mladenovic, Laura Robson and Bojana Jovanovski to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal where she defeated World No. 3 and tournament favorite Serena Williams in three sets to reach the semi-finals. There, she lost a next match to the World No. 1 and defending champion, Victoria Azarenka.[15] However, as a result of reaching the semifinals, Stephens achieved a new career high singles ranking of World No. 17 following the event, making her the youngest player (and the only teenager) in the top 20.


Sloane Stephens at the 2013 US Open.

Following the Australian Open, Stephens pulled out of the first round Fed Cup tie for United States against the third-seeded Italy due to a strained abdominal muscle. She lost her opening round matches in Doha, Dubai and Indian Wells before reaching the fourth round of the 2013 Sony Open Tennis after defeating Olga Govortsova and receiving a walkover Venus Williams in the third round. However, she lost to the 4th seed and defending champion Agnieszka Radwańska in three sets. Stephens then lost in the second round of the 2013 Family Circle Cup to Bethanie Mattek-Sands after receiving a first round bye. She then lost her match against Sofia Arvidsson during the 2013 Fed Cup World Group Play-offs, but the United States Fed Cup Team defeated Sweden 3–2 to secure themselves a place in the 2014 World Group. Stephens’ poor form continued as she lost to Daniela Hantuchová in the opening round of 2013 Mutua Madrid Open. Stephens broke her losing streak at theInternazionali BNL d’Italia by defeating Flavia Pennetta and Kiki Bertens to reach the third round where she lost to the World No. 2 and two-time defending champion, Maria Sharapova. At the Brussels Open, Stephens defeated Tsvetana Pironkovaand Zhang Shuai to reach the quarterfinals where she lost in straight sets to eighth seed, Peng Shuai. Stephens finished the clay court season by reaching the fourth round of the 2013 French Open for the second consecutive year, defeating Karin Knapp, Vania King and Marina Erakovicen route before losing to second seed and defending champion, Maria Sharapova. She also played in the doubles draw with her partner Mallory Burdette. The pair lost in the first round to eventual champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

Stephens was seeded 17th at the Wimbledon Championships. She defeated Jamie Hampton, Andrea Petkovic, Petra Cetkovská and Monica Puig to reach the quarterfinals for the first time where she lost in straight sets to fifteenth seed and eventual champion Marion Bartoli. She was defeated in the first round in the 2013 Citi Open, and reached merely the third round of the 2013 Rogers Cup. She defeated third-seeded Maria Sharapova in the second round of the 2013 Western & Southern Open, though lost in the next round. Seeded 15th, She barely pulled through the first round of the 2013 US Open, beating Mandy Minella by the extremely close score. She then recovered, cruising past Urszula Radwańska in the second round and Jamie Hampton in the third, before losing in the fourth round to eventual champion Serena Williams in straight sets.

Stephens then travelled to Istanbul as one of two alternates for the 2013 WTA Tour Championships, but she did not get an opportunity to play.  She finished the year ranked world number 11 and the only woman in top 30 under the age of 22.

Stephens began 2014 at the Hopman Cup with John Isner representing USA. In their first rubber, USA comfortably won all of their matches against Spain. In their second rubber against France, Stephens successfully defeated Alizé Cornet, while Isner lost his singles match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and the pair lost their doubles match. In their final rubber, they faced the Czech Republic team consisting of Petra Kvitová and Radek Štěpánek. In her match against Kvitová, she was forced to retire after losing the first set, handing the Czech team a decisive lead in their rubber. As a result of her injury, her and Isner were replaced by Bojana Bobusic and Oliver Anderson in the mixed doubles, ending her Hopman Cup campaign.

Stephens started off her grass court season at the premier tournament in Eastbourne. After winning a three set battle against qualifier and Brit Naomi Broady 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the first set, Stephens defeated top 10 player Carla Suarréz Navarro with a score of 6-1, 7-5 for her first top 10 win in almost two years. With a win over Heather Watson in the third round and a walkover from Daria Gavrilova in the quarterfinals, Stephens reached her second semifinal of the year. Playing Agnieszka Radwanksa, she was able to push the match to three sets, but unable to win eventually losing 1-6, 7-6(3), 2-6. Stephens continued this good form into the Wimbledon Championships, where she lost in the first round in 2014. In the first round, she defeated 27th seed and 2014 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Barbara Strýcová with a convincing scoreline of 6-4, 6-2. With a 6-4, 6-4 win over Lauren Davis in the second round, Stephens set up a third round encounter with 2015 French Open finalist Lucie Šafářová. However, after taking the first set 6-3, Stephens fell to Šafářová in three sets.

She carried her form into the Citi Open where she captured her 1st WTA title beating Sam Stosur en route.

23 Jan 2013, Melbourne, Australia. Sloane Stephens of the USA celebrates winning her match against Serena Williams of the USA, in the quarter finals of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 23 January 2013.

Stephens started her 2016 season at Auckland in the ASB Classic. She defeated Polona Hercog, Carina Witthöft and qualifier Naomi Broady to advance to the semifinals against Caroline Wozniacki. The semifinal match was forced to be postponed due to rainy weather when Stephens was leading 5–2 first set. Stephens finished the semifinal match in two sets and defeated Julia Görges in straight sets on the same day to claim her second WTA title.

At the Australian Open she was the 24th seed. In the first round she was put up against qualifier Wang Qiang but lost in two sets in a 1 hour and 23 minutes match.

Stephens defeated Magda Linette in Fed Cup II. World Group match against Poland.

Stephens claimed her third career title at Acapulco in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. She defeated qualifier Louisa Chirico, Olga Govortsova, wild card Naomi Osaka,Yanina Wickmayer and Dominika Cibulková in a three-hour final decided in a tiebreak. After receiving a first round bye in Indian Wells, Stephens suffered a straight sets loss to a resurgent Eugenie Bouchard. The same happened at the Miami Open, where she lost to Heather Watson.

Her next tournament was the Volvo Car Open, where she received another first round bye and beat Danka Kovinić, Daria Gavrilova, Daria Kasatkina and Angelique Kerber (who retired in the second set) en route to the final, where she won her fourth singles title, $128,000 and a new electric blue Volvo V60 Polestar by defeatingElena Vesnina in straight sets. The remainder of her clay court season was faced with modest success, getting to the Round of 16 at Strasbourg, and the Round of 32 at both Madrid and Roland Garros.

After getting to the Round of 32 at Wimbledon, she faced first round losses in Washington DC, Montreal, and the Rio 2016 Olympics. This was her first time qualifying for the Olympic Games.

On August 26, Sloane withdrew from the US Open due to a right foot stress fracture, which would sideline her for the rest of the year. She finished the year ranked 36 in the world.

After having foot surgery in January with plans to return to the tour in summer, Stephens was granted the opportunity to be a broadcaster for Tennis Channel. She was featured as an off-court personality, showing activities around the grounds and conducting player interviews in Indian Wells, Miami, and Charleston.

Sloane started her comeback at Wimbledon, but fell in the first round to compatriot Alison Riske. She also lost in the first round in her next tournament at the Citi Open.

Her first breakthrough of the year came at the Rogers Cup. Even though she entered the tournament unseeded, she surged all the way to the semifinals before falling to Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets.

WTA career winning finals results:

Winner 1. August 9, 2015 Citi Open, Washington, United States Hard Russia Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6–1, 6–2
Winner 2. January 9, 2016 ASB Classic, Auckland, New Zealand Hard Germany Julia Görges 7–5, 6–2
Winner 3. February 27, 2016 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, Acapulco, Mexico Hard Slovakia Dominika Cibulková 6–4, 4–6, 7–6(7–5)
Winner 4. April 10, 2016 Charleston Open, Charleston, United States Clay (green) Russia Elena Vesnina 7–6(7–4), 6–2