By Richard Kent
NEW YORK — It has been a special U.S. Open for many American women. Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe immediately come to mind. None more so than 24-year-old Sloane Stephens.
The 5-foot- 7 child prodigy, who defeated then No. 3 Serena Williams to reach the semis of the 2013 Wimbledon, finds herself in the quarter-finals of the 2017 U.S. Open, for the first time ever.
The unseeded Stephens defeated No. 30 Julia Goerges 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 on Sunday. It was her second major upset of the event. Stephens suffered a right foot stress fracture last summer, causing her to miss the 2016 U.S. Open.
She has foot surgery in January and served as a commentator on the Tennis Channel. Her ranking — once as high as No. 11 — dropped to over no. 700 in the world.
She suffered a first round Wimbledon loss, but had a strong U.S. Open series showing, including a victory over Petra Kvitova, moved her back to No. 83, but still unranked at the Open.She surprisingly, advanced to the semi-finals of both the coveted Rogers Cup and Cincinnati.
Her favorite surface is clay, but her favorite tournament is her home Slam.
Next, Stephens takes on 16th seeded Anastasija Senastova Tuesday. Senastova has been injury riddled throughout her career and once took off a full 18 months to rehab and contemplate her future.
She was an upset victory over the biggest story at the Open, Maria Sharapova, on Sunday.