Melbourne - American teenager Sloane Stephens
ended Serena Williams' bid for a historic calendar-year Grand Slam when
she sent the injury-hampered favourite crashing out of the Australian
As Williams, who was troubled by ankle problems
earlier in the tournament, required treatment for back spasms and
smashed her racquet as the match slipped away, Stephens held her nerve
to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours 17 minutes.
"This is so crazy," said
Stephens, who used to have Williams' poster on her bedroom wall. "I
think I'll put a poster of myself up now."
Stephens, 19, regarded
as Williams' successor as the force of women's tennis in the United
States, now goes into a semi-final against world number one and
defending champion Victoria Azarenka.
The teenager was able to
match her elder's trademark power in the opening exchanges, but errors
crept in towards the end of the 28-minute first set.
played a dispirited opening game of the second set and Williams pounced.
Appearing untroubled by the right ankle she rolled in the first round,
Williams took a 2-0 lead before the youngster fought back.
showed glimpses of her much-hyped shot-making to break Williams' serve
in the fourth game of the second set. Forehands started hitting the mark
and her first serve was matching Williams' deliveries of 107 miles (172
kilometres) per hour.
She had a break point on Williams' serve at 3-2, only for the world number three to slide an ace down the T.
3-4, 0-30, Williams grimaced after hitting a backhand winner. Close to
the net, she had to pull up quickly to avoid making contact with the net
and losing the point.
She began hobbling between points, lost
strength on her serve and Stephens broke for 5-3. Williams attempted to
keep rallies short by hitting winners, and Stephens had an attack of
nerves to lose serve when trying to level it at a set apiece.
called for the trainer at 4-5, complaining of back spasms. Next game,
she could barely serve but her groundstrokes remained potent. She held
serve to love as Stephens lost composure, but the teenager staved off a
break points in the following game to lead 6-5, and won her second set
point to take the match into a decider.
Games went on serve until
Williams broke Stephens for a 4-3 lead. Williams' movement had improved
to a significant degree, but Stephens broke back amid excruciating
A final break of serve gave the teenager the biggest win of her career.
"Should be good," she said of her semi-final on Thursday. "I'll go out and do the thing again."Results from day 10 of the Australian Open on Wednesday:
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x1) bt Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 7-5, 6-1
Sloane Stephens (USA x29) bt Serena Williams (USA x3) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4
Andy Murray (GBR x3) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-4, 6-1, 6-2