When the draws came out for the 2013 U.S. Open there was one match that everyone was circling as the one we all hoped to see. Sloane Stephens, the 20-year-old American, facing off against Serena Williams, the 31-year-old that hasn't shown a single sign of slowing down in a sport that usually brushes 30-year-olds to retirement faster than a Serena first serve.
Both players did exactly what they had to do for the first three rounds to set up a Sunday afternoon showdown between the next big thing in American tennis and the one that has set a mark that most likely will never be topped.
The two have played twice, with Williams handling Stephens easily earlier this year in Brisbane 6-4, 6-3 and then losing to Stephens in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in a match that had us all understand that this young American player is the real deal and isn't scared of anyone, no matter the rank or the history.
Since that victory the two have had an interesting war of words, with Stephens telling ESPN the Magazine that Serena basically cut out Stephens after that Australian Open match.
"She’s not said one word to me, not spoken to me, not said hi, not looked my way, not been in the same room with me since I played her in Australia," Stephens said, and while the two have publicly ended any bad blood, it will be a match that is a must-watch for any tennis fan that enjoys drama and the potential for a changing of the guard moment in American tennis.
"As I always say, I think it will be epic. I'm really looking forward to it," Stephens said after her third round win over American Jamie Hampton, and Serena, possibly playing a little mind game with the 20-year-old, said she thinks Stephens is a favorite to go all the way at this U.S. Open, even if that means beating her on Sunday.
No matter the outcome, I think everyone can agree that whoever leaves this match victorious will easily be the favorite out of this side of the draw to make the finals, and while it would be awesome to see these two square off late in the second week in Flushing Meadows, the fact that we get Serena versus Sloane 3.0 this season is great for tennis.