Sloane Stephens: Tennis' rising star

Published 1202 GMT (2002 HKT) August 28, 2012
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Sloane Stephens has had a great year on the WTA Tour, reaching two semifinals and making the fourth round of the French Open. Her success is built around an aggressive game which has led to comparisons with Serena Williams. Getty Images
The 19-year-old American is extremely athletic and counts a speedy serve among her weaponry. AFP/Getty Images
She also possesses a ferocious forehand which has been used to quell many oppenents this year. A strong showing at Wimbledon, where she reached the third round, was followed by her best ever performance at Roland Garros, eventually losing to U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur in the fourth round. Getty Images
Stephens' success in 2012 follows a successful career as a junior. She first picked up a racket when she was nine years old, and moved from California to a Florida tennis academy to hone her skills. Getty Images
Her junior career included three consecutive doubles titles at the French Open, Wimbledon (pictured) and the U.S. Open with Timea Babos from Hungary (second left) in 2010. Getty Images
According to Jeff Newman, tournament director at the Citi Open in Washington D.C., Stephens has the "it" factor. "She resonates with the fans and has a great personality," Newman says. Getty Images
"People are looking for the next superstar -- someone to replace the Williams sisters -- and she certainly has the ability," says Newman. Getty Images
Stephens is blessed with great sporting genes. Her mother Sybil Smith was a champion swimmer for Boston University, while her father John Stephens (pictured) was an NFL running back. They divorced when Sloane was a child, and he was killed in a car accident in 2009. Getty Images