Melbourne, Australia (4E Sports) – Sloane Stephens bounced back from a first-set deficit en route to a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 upset win over No. 3 Serena Williams and book a spot in the semifinal round of the Australian Open.
The 19-year-old Stephens handed Williams her first loss since Aug. 17, ending a run of 20 consecutive wins.
The loss was the first for Williams in a Grand Slam event since the French Open when she was eliminated in the first round.
Williams used that defeat to fuel her campaign in the second half of 2012, including titles at Wimbledon, the London Olympics, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championship.
For a spot in the finals, Stephens will face defending champion Victoria Azarenka, who downed Svetlana Kuznetsova., 7-5, 6-1.
On the men’s side, No. 3 Andy Murray marched into the semifinal round for the fourth year in a row after ending unseeded Jeremy Chardy’s giant-killing run in Melbourne with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory.
The 25-year-old Murray is through to his eighth semifinal in his past nine major appearances. He has only lost one set of tennis so far this year.
Murray was taken to three sets by John Millman in his first match of 2013 at the Brisbane International before reeling off eight successive straight-sets victories to see him win his 25th tour-level title in Queensland.
“I think you have to trust yourself that, when you are tested, you’re going to play better tennis,” said Murray. “You never know for sure. But in the build-up to the tournament I played very well. I haven’t lost a set here yet. So maybe I’m expecting to play too well or whatever.
Murray will face either Roger Federer or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Friday’s semifinal.
After four runner-up finishes in Grand Slam finals, Murray made his breakthrough with victory over Novak Djokovic in the 2012 US Open final.
Two of his final defeats came in Melbourne, losing to Federer in 2010 and Djokovic in 2011.