September 1, 2013-The changing of the guard will happen at some point in women’s tennis but Serena Williams made sure it didn’t happen today in her fourth round match up with fellow American Sloane Stephens at the U.S. Open. Williams took less than 90 minutes before she booked her ticket to the second week with a 6-4, 6-1 win.
Stephens, 20 years-old and one of the fresh young faces in U.S. tennis stunned Williams earlier this year in Australia at the first grand slam of the year when she sent Williams home early after defeating her in the quarterfinals.
Williams, seeded first for only the second time in her career at the U.S. Open was broken for the first time in the tournament by Stephens in the first set but then broke Stephens twice to take the first set. Williams then clicked into high gear and only allowed Stephens one point in the second set.
William has a chance to continue her quest for her second grand slam of 2013 and 17th overall. It would be the fifth U.S. Open championship for Williams who also has played into the second week of the doubles competition with her sister Venus as they seek their 14th doubles grand slam title.
Much was made however of the rematch between Williams and Stephens who have had their share of regrettable comments to the media over the past few months. While both have downplayed any animosity between the two players, it is clear that the Davis Cup teammates are not exactly close friends.
Yet while Williams is certainly the best player in the world right now she is fighting father time and U.S tennis is itching to crown its next star. Stephens has embraced her role as the next greatest thing, is raking in endorsements deals and may be the face of tennis for the next decade.
For now however the stage still belongs to Williams and the path is getting easier for her as she may have just played her toughest oppponent barring a match up with Victoria Azarenka in the championship match. And while the tennis world may still bow to Williams it may not be much longer before Stephens takes center stage.