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2019 U.S. Open Fan Week Media Day Brings Answers And Fandom To Louis Armstrong Stadium

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Louis Armstrong Stadium was alive with talking, screaming and informative 2019 U.S. Open Championship title hopefuls on Friday morning, as Media Day represented one of the many exciting activities that U.S. Open Fan Week has provided.

The bleachers were filled with fans who frequently drowned out the media, and the player being interviewed, whenever one of their favorite  players appeared.  So much so, that the interviewee would yield to the player being thrown chaotic fan love, at least until the noise level died down.

While most of the players attempted to be as forthcoming and responsive as they could be, surprisingly, at least to me, it was Alexander Zverev that placed the most bottom lined response on the table. In response to being asked about his recent losses and how he felt about the upcoming U.S. Open, he responded, “Personal things that I had outside the court, they were a distraction for me. I mean, as I said in the summer, there are a lot of things that I had to do that I didn't do in the last few years, so obviously those kind of things were a new learning process. I'm still a young guy, still only 22 years old. There are still a lot of things that I needed to learn. Not only on the tennis court but in life, in general."

"Those things I think every young person has to go through. The only difference between me and other young people is that I have to play in front of 20,000 people sometimes. You know, that's a little bit extra on you."

“We'll see how it goes, it's the first time in probably a few years where I'm not a favorite in any way at a Grand Slam, and it takes some pressure off, as well. It's a different mindset for me now. We'll see how it goes, but I'm excited." 

Media Day provided a truly informative morning.  To review all player interviews, visit usopen.org

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2019 U.S. Open Men's And Women's Singles Draws Announced

Friday, August 23, 2019

On Thursday, August 22nd, day four of 2019 U.S. Open Fan Week, the Men's and Women's singles draws were announced. Through commentator and video presentations, each quarter of each draw was reviewed and analyzed.

Much attention was given to the fact that No. 8 seeded Serena Williams will compete against world no. 87 Maria Sharapova in the the first round.

The U.S. Open has broken down both draws completely by quarters.  All player information and related analysis can be read at usopen.org.


Naomi Osaka, JPN(1) vs. A. Blinkova, RUS
WC Coco Gauff, USA vs. Anastasia Potapova, RUS
Sloane Stephens, USA(11) vs. Qualifier
WC Whitney Osuigwe, USA vs. Elina Svitolina, UKR(5)
Venus Williams, USA vs. Saisai Zheng, CHN
Madison Keys,  USA(10) vs. Misaki Doi, JPN
Serena Williams, USA(8) vs. Maria Sharapova, RUS
Taylor Townsend, USA(Q) vs. Kateryna Kozlova, UKR


Christopher Eubanks, USA vs. Cristian Garin, CHI(31)
Gael Monfils, FRA(13) vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas, ESP
Felix Auger-Aliassime, CAN(18) vs. Dennis Shapovalov, CAN
Frances Tiafoe, USA vs. Ivo Karlovic, CRO
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, FRA vs. Tennys Sandgren, USA

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Sloane Stephens Tweets Announcement On Returning To Being Coached By Kamau Murray

Thursday, August 22, 2019

After a very quick departure from her now former coach, Sven Groeneveld, earlier this week, Stephens announced that she was "Happy to be back with Kamau."

Stephens has not been able to maintain the winning standard that she previously enjoyed with Murray, who coached Stephens from 2015 to 2018, during which time she won the U.S. Open in 2017.

Here's to forward movement - Go Sloane!!

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CONGRATULATIONS SLOANE STEPHENS!! May The Two Of You Enjoy A Blessed, Fruitful And Prosperous Life

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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UPDATE: Black Tennis Pros Of 2019 BNP Paribas Open

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

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WTA: Through Two Months Of The 2019 Season, What Is The Top Ten Doing Better Than The Field?

Monday, March 4, 2019

WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen

This time last year, the story unfolding in the 2018 WTA season revolved around the return of serve. Twelve months on and it's the serve that has set the current Top 10 apart from the field.

Current WTA Top 10

1. Naomi Osaka (9-2)
2. Simona Halep (10-4)
3. Petra Kvitova (17-4)
4. Sloane Stephens (5-4)
5. Karolina Pliskova (13-3)
6. Elina Svitolina (9-4)
7. Kiki Bertens (10-5)
8. Angelique Kerber (7-4)
9. Aryna Sabalenka (12-4)
10. Serena Williams (4-1)

In 2018, the start of the season was dominated by counter-punchers and aggressive counter-punchers. Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, and Elina Svitolina swept the biggest tournaments in Australia, before Petra Kvitova tore through February. This season has been about the power players, highlighted by Naomi Osaka, Kvitova, and Karolina Pliskova picking up the big titles Down Under.

Champions at Premier or higher events: 2018 vs. 2019

Brisbane International
2018: Elina Svitolina (d. Sasnovich)
2019: Karolina Pliskova (d. Tsurenko)

Sydney International
2018: Angelique Kerber (d. Barty)
2019: Petra Kvitova (d. Barty)

Australian Open
2018: Caroline Wozniacki (d. Halep)
2019: Naomi Osaka (d. Kvitova)

St. Petersburg
2018: Petra Kvitova (d. Mladenovic)
2019: Kiki Bertens (d. Vekic)

Qatar Total Open
2018: Petra Kvitova (d. Muguruza)
2019: Elise Mertens (d. Halep)

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
2018: Elina Svitolina (d. Kasatkina)
2019: Belinda Bencic (d. Kvitova)

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2019 ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL: Top Seed Sloane Stephens Eliminated by Brazilian Qualifier Beatriz Haddad

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia beat top-seeded Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday in the Mexican Open for her first victory in seven career matches against players ranked in the top 10.

The fourth-ranked Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open, was making her first appearance in the hardcourt event since winning the 2016 title.

The 22-year-old Haddad Maia will face Monica Puig or Wang Yafan in the quarterfinals.

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2019 ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL: No. 1 Seed Sloane Stephens Successfully Flies Through First Match In Just Over An Hour

Sloane Stephens participating in the 2019 Abierto Mexicano Telcel Kick Off

2016 event champion and No. 1 seed Sloane Stephens wasted very little time in accomplishing today's goal of shutting down Pauline Parmentier of France.  In one hour and nine minutes, Sloane moved into the next round with a 6-2, 6-2 win.

In the post match interview, Sloane stated,“I felt good out there. Obviously I like coming back here and playing here. I’m happy to get that first win under my belt after having not played since Australia.

“I’m happy to be playing well and happier to have another chance to get back out on the court.”

Up next, Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia.

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WACK OPINING: Enough Already Tennis Channel - This Lame, "Sloane Stephens Is The WTA Nick Kyrgios" Has Got To Go!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Once again, as Sloane Stephens took the court in Acapulco today, Tennis Channel commentators have found it necessary to throw American Sloane Stephens and Australian Nick Kyrgios into a boxed comparison. This is no less than the third occasion that I have heard male commentators on Tennis Channel utilize this 'lil idiom.

With no offense to Nick Kyrgios, if it were being done for the positive, it would be a different story. However, the moment you all make the comparison, you begin running down the issues that you have with Nick Kyrgios and his game. With all the negatives that have been assigned to Kyrgios, to now constantly attribute this same opinion to Sloane Stephens may be interpreted more broadly.

The issues and opinions that you have with Sloane and her game need to be limited to Sloane. Unless there's some new rule establishing grouping players deemed to have like "issues," cut the wack opining.

Oh, and FYI - Wack: not up to the mark : lousy, lame.

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2019 ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL: No. 1 Seed Sloane Stephens Returns To Action In Acapulco In First Run Since Australian Open

Sunday, February 24, 2019

American Sloane Stephens leads 2019 Abierto Mexicano Telcel draw.

ACAPULCO, Mexico - No.1 seed Sloane Stephens, who returns to action for the first time since the Australian Open, is the only former winner in this year's Abierto Mexicano TELCEL presentado por HSBC draw, and opens her campaign against Istanbul and QuĂ©bec City Champion Pauline Parmentier of France for the second year in a row.  The tournament runs Monday, February 25 through Saturday, March 2, 2019.

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INSTAGRAM: DAAAAAANG Sloane, Your Dimples Got Game Too!!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A post shared by Sloane Stephens (@sloanestephens) on

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INSTAGRAM: Sloane Stephens Offers Congratulations to No. 1 Naomi Osaka With Photo Showing The Two All Glammed Up

Thursday, January 31, 2019

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SLOANE STEPHENS: Finish the Sentence...

Saturday, January 26, 2019

A post shared by Sloane Stephens (@sloanestephens) on

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2018 U.S. OPEN DAY 1: Defending Champion Sloane Stephens Glides Through Round 1 To Defend Her Title

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

On Monday afternoon, Sloane Stephens began her US Open defense with an almost-routine win over Evgeniya Rodina, 6-1, 7-5, in their first career meeting.

The American couldn’t have wished for a better start as she closed out the first set in less than 30 minutes. The world No. 80 didn’t truly settle in until she was down 4-2 in the second set, which helped Stephens shake off some early nerves.

"I was a little bit nervous. I think obviously it's never easy as an American playing in the US Open," Stephens said. "I think I've felt worse nerves than that, playing here before in previous years."

Things are very different for Stephens this time around in New York. The 25-year-old returns as a US Open and Miami Open champion, a world No. 3 and a Nike star, decked out in a bright orange dress.

Another change for Stephens was playing in the new Louis Armstrong Stadium, complete with a retractable roof. It's quite breezy inside thanks to its open-air setup, designed so that when the roof is closed, there’s still a natural atmosphere on court. The new breezeway allows fans to walk and talk during play, and since the slot of open air is barely above eye level, it adds a new challenge for players trying to tune out the noise and movement.

"It was just loud," Stephens said. "There was a lot going on between the airplanes and the subway behind the court, the concessions being in the lower bowl, and people walking in the games at, like, 2-all, 3-all. Yes, it was fun to play first day on a brand-new stadium court. But there was a lot happening. Full article here.

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2014 WIMBLEDON DAY 1: Rough First Round For Sloane Stephens, Taylor Townsend, Donald Young, and Dustin Brown - All Eliminated

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

American Donald Young lost to Germany’s Benjamin Becker, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4

Sloane Stephens, ranked and seeded No. 18 at Wimbledon, was beaten by No. 109 Maria Kirilenko, who was ranked No. 10 in the world just a year ago. Plagued by shoulder and knee injuries, Kirilenko is on the comeback trail now—apparently with a vengeance.

“She's done well here in the past. I knew it was going to be tricky, but that's like every other Grand Slam first-round match,” Stephens said of the 6-2, 7-6 (6) loss.
This loss could drop her out of the Top 20 by the end of Wimbledon.

Court 12 was so brimful with charisma when Marcos Baghdatis and Dustin Brown faced one another in the first round that you wondered if there would be room for all that magnetism and the tennis too.

Brown came into this match on the up after his spectacular demolition of Rafael Nadal on the grass of Halle earlier this month, and many would have favoured him to down the former world No.8, who is now ranked 119 and needed a wild card to secure his place in the draw. But in the event a typically flamboyant display from the 6ft 5in German came at too great a price. It was Baghdatis who won 6-4, 7-5, 2-6, 7-6(4).

Eighteen-year-old American Taylor Townsend enjoyed a wonderful spell on the red clay of the French Open last month, reaching the third round before bowing out to No.14 seed Carla Suarez Navarro, but was not able to fare as well at Wimbledon.

Townsend lost 7-5, 6-2 to Klára Koukalová of the Czech Republic, but is determined not to dwell on the loss.

“I definitely am not pleased about my match, but it's just a learning experience really,” she insisted. “I'm just going to take what I've learned over the past two slams. I'm going to go back home. I'm going to work extremely hard and get ready for the US Open Series. I have tons of tournaments to look forward to and a lot of great things are ahead, but it's time to just put my head down and work again.

source: wimbledon.org, ATP World Tour

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WTA PRE-WIMBLEDON PARTY: Red-Carpet Glam Ladies Of The WTA Enroute To Kensington Gardens

Venus Williams, USA

Serena Williams, USA

Ana Ivanovic, Serbia

Agnieszka Radwańska, Poland

Dominika Cibulková, Slovakia

Li Na, China

Sabine Lisicki, Germany

Sloane Stephens, USA

Victoria Azarenka, Belarus

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2014 FRENCH OPEN DAY 9: American Sloane Stephens Heavily Out Matched Against Romanian Simona Halep

Monday, June 2, 2014

Romania’s Simona Halep, the highest seed left in the women’s singles, outwitted the American 15th seed, Sloane Stephens, to reach the quarter-finals at the French Open with a 6-4, 6-3 victory on Monday.

Stephens made too many unforced errors as Halep, the fourth seed, won through to meet either the 27th-seeded former champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, or the Czech 23rd seed, Lucie Safarova.
With Romania’s tennis legend Ilie Nastase watching from the stands, Halep worked the angles to unsettle Stephens, who struggled behind her serve throughout.

Halep, who made her only previous grand slam quarter-final appearance at this year’s Australian Open, prevailed on the first match point when Stephens, the last American in the singles, sent a forehand long.

Halep’s game was far from perfect but she seized her chances, converting all six break points she had.

“I think I managed very well the match,” said Halep, who won the juniors’ title at Roland Garros in 2008. “I opened the angles. I wanted to make her run a lot on court. I think I played aggressive. I dominated the match, I think. I didn’t serve very well but I tried to return better and I did.”
Stephens was often on the back foot and sometimes went for unlikely winners in attempts to regain the advantage during long rallies.

“It was a tough match obviously but she has played pretty consistent over the last, say, nine months,” said Stephens, who has reached the last 16 in her last six grand slam appearances.

“It’s always tough playing someone who is really consistent and has a lot of confidence and just plays a solid game.”

 AP Photo/Michel Spingler
Source:  The Guardian

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FRENCH OPEN DAY 7: Sloane Stephens Makes Sixth Straight Appearance In Round 4

Sunday, June 1, 2014

American Sloane Stephens in third-round match at 2014 French Open.

Sloane Stephens is through to her sixth straight fourth-round appearance at a major after handily accounting for dangerous Russian lefty Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-4.

In a more evenly-matched showdown than the scoreline would suggest, it was Stephens who converted when it mattered, winning three of four break points as opposed to Marakova’s one from four.

The American’s half-dozen fourth-round berths in a row is the most among any of her rivals on the Tour but the weight of expectation continues to mount. She is the highest-ranked player never to have won a title - and has yet to reach a final.

“Yeah, it's a great thing [the last 16 streak]. If I knew [why she plays better at Slams than in WTA events], I would capitalise on it. I would do it every week. But I guess it's all just a learning experience,” Stephens said. “I just peak at four tournaments a year. Every other tournament just gets me ready for these.”

Still a long way from the business end of the tournament, but Stephens is well-pitted to make the breakthrough on what she says is her favourite surface.


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PHOTOS: Gael Monfils, Venus And Serena Williams and More On Days One And Two Of The 2014 French Open

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gael Monfils, France

Serena Williams, USA

Heather Watson, United Kingdom

Sloane Stephens, USA

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France

Venus Williams, USA


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2012 US OPEN DAY 4: Serena, Sloane and Blake Advance, Venus And Tsonga Are Out

Friday, August 31, 2012

(L-R) Serena Williams, USA, Sloane Stephens, USA, James Blake, USA, Venus Williams, USA and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France all shown post-match on Day 4 of the 2012 US Open.

American Sloane Stephens, the youngest player in the top 50 at age 19, defeated qualifier Tatjana Malek 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 in Louis Armstrong stadium Thursday in a three-set match filled with momentum shifts and heavily contrasting styles of play.

After a slow start in the second set, the easy power and athleticism of Stephens dealt with the variety of spins and shots coming off the Malek racquet to advance to the third round, tying her best showing at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center.

Heading into his second round match against Marcel Granollers, James Blake knew it wouldn't be easy going up against the 6-foot-3 Spaniard. He'd lost to him before in the title match on the clay courts of Houston in 2008.

And so it was here, under the lights of Louis Armstrong stadium, where Blake's best tennis came through again, as he defeated Granollers 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the third round here for the first time since 2010. Already waiting for him in the next round is a tall order, literally, as big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic will face off against him.

Serena Williams advanced a few steps in from the baseline and celebrated the point, bent over two balled fists and screaming “Come on!”

During her 6-2, 6-4 win Thursday over Spain’s Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in the second round of the US Open, many members of the crowd echoed this cry, trying to push the three-time Open winner on an afternoon when she fought through unforced errors – 24 in all -- inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

In a huge upset, and a major head-scratcher, 23-year-old Martin Klizan of the Slovak Republic, ranked No. 52 in the world, took out the No. 5 seed Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France, 6-4, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Tsonga looked out of sorts for most of the match, enough for many to wonder about his health, to try to explain a lackluster performances at such a significant venue.

The big serving Tsonga showed less firepower throughout the match than his unheralded opponent, who has had most of his success on the pro tour on clay court Challenger events.

Klizan, more aggressive and determined throughout, had 5 aces to Tsonga’s 4, and hit 32 winners to Tsonga’s 28.

The second-round blockbuster between sixth seed Angelique Kerber and two-time champion Venus Williams was hyped as one of the matches to watch at the US Open. With a 12:19 a.m. finish on Arthur Ashe Stadium, the matchup lived up to its billing, as Kerber outlasted Williams 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 in a gripping battle.

The clash began with five straight breaks of serve, before the left-handed Kerber ended the streak in the sixth game to lead 4-2. Williams was unable to find a rhythm, hitting 36 percent of her first serves into play, committing five double faults and winning two of 14 points on second serve to lose the first set in 31 minutes. The American dropped all four of her service games.

Post match Venus said, "Today I felt American for the first time at the U.S. Open," Venus said. "So I've waited my whole career to have this moment, and here it is.

"I was fighting her today and, unfortunately, myself," Venus said afterward. "I couldn't put more than two points together without making a few errors. I didn't help myself out today."

"When you're ready, you're ready," Venus said of Roddick. "If I was out there and people were killing me, maybe time to hang it up. But I just have to find the answer within myself. I'm playing my game and eventually [the shots] will land."

Source: usopen.org
Photos By: Getty Images

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