World number 16 Sloane Stephens only turned 20 in March but has already shown her ability to cope on the biggest stages and has to be considered for Grand Slam glory on every surface.
Although still without a win on the WTA circuit the American number two is becoming a regular sight in the second week of the biggest events, making at least the round-of-16 in her last three majors.
The Floridian only made her debut in the main draw at one of the big ones in 2010 at Flushing Meadows and her rise in to the world’s top-20 has been nothing short of meteoric.
This year’s campaign has undoubtedly been her best season to date having reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last time, the last-16 at Roland Garros and most famously all the way to the last-four at the Australian Open at the expense of Serena Williams.
In all three of those performances Stephens showed the type of character and resilience which is a prerequisite for any player harbouring dreams of capturing a Slam. At Wimbledon alone she came through three deciding sets and this season in the 14 occasions where a final set has been required in only four of them has she been found wanting.
Stephens’ win over child idol Serena Williams in Melbourne was a case in point as she recovered from a set down to hold her nerve in the second and third. There were so many opportunities to buckle and succumb to the expected outcome but she refused to do so. Stephens was the first player since Virginie Razzano at the French Open last year to recover from losing the first set to the 16-time Grand Slam champion and come back to win.
The California-based player already has a Grand Slam-winning temperament and now just needs to add some bite to her game. Stephens has no notable weapons off the ground but that will come. The fact that she has one of the most consistent serves in the game is another testament to her sound state of mind.
Stephens rise into the game’s top echelons can be traced directly back to her parents as her mother was a promising swimmer for Boston University and her father a professional American football player so there should be no shortage of good advice in the house.
At odds of 40/1 to win the US Open and although capturing the title itself may come too soon there is nothing to suggest she won’t give herself another opportunity in the latter stages, something that if she does often enough will inevitably reap the most sought after of awards.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.