Why They'll Win, Why They Won't: Sloane Stephens
Call her Slam Stephens, for the world No. 17 hasn’t climbed the rankings based on her play at one-week events. She has reached as many semifinals away from the majors (one) as she has at them (Australian Open). The American followed up her Aussie quarterfinal upset of Serena Williams with a fourth-round run at Roland Garros, and then reached the last eight at Wimbledon. Stephens embraces the spotlight, and it will be brightest of all in New York. The pressure will be just as intense. Anything less than a second-week showing for the 20-year-old will be considered a disappointment, and Stephens has already spoke—not very positively—about the crush of fans and media that await her at the Open. She’ll be playing most if not all her matches on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Sloane’s Slam is about to begin.
Why She’ll Win: There have not been many players better at the big events. Stephens has already been to the third round of the Open twice. She’s not afraid of anyone and has the shots to convert that mentality into wins.
Why She Won’t: That word again: Pressure. And not just from the press and crowd. Stephens will get each players’ best shot on a show court. Her results have gone against the grain, and that’s a tough tightrope to keep walking.
Bottom Line: It’s easy to picture Stephens becoming a victim of her own success, at least at this edition of the Open. It’s also easy to picture her reaching the final weekend in Flushing Meadows—just not this year.
More Why They'll Win, Why They Won't:
- John Isner
- Victoria Azarenka
- Rafael Nadal
- Sloane Stephens
- Andy Murray
- Agnieszka Radwanska
- Novak Djokovic
- Petra Kvitova
- Roger Federer
- Li Na
- Juan Martin del Potro
- Serena Williams