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New kid on the court

BRIGHT FUTURE: Stephens

WHILE MULTIPLE Grand Slam champion Serena Williams is still dominating proceedings on the court, a newcomer to challenge her supremacy emerged at this month’s Australian Open.

Having defeated England’s Laura Robson in the third round in straight sets and then recording a 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 fourth round win over Bojana Jovanovski, Sloane Stephens set up an intriguing quarter-final against her idol Williams and thus cemented her place as a future force in tennis.

Stephens and Williams are set to face-off on January 23, which marks the first time that the 19-year-old from Florida, USA is competing at a senior Grand Slam quarter-final.

A stellar junior, Stephens won French Open, US Open and Wimbledon junior Grand Slam honours in 2010.

Stephens and Williams have met once previously before at the Brisbane International earlier this month, with the latter trumping the youngster in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

Full of admiration for Stephens, Williams said: "She plays well. She can be the greatest player. I feel like it will be another good match and a good opportunity for both of us. Definitely, one of us will be in the semi-finals, which I think is awesome.

“I think she's playing great. We played just two weeks ago in Brisbane, she played unbelievably well.”

Williams added: “I think she is an incredible talent and I admire her too. It will be a tough match for me but I feel like I have nothing to lose.”

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