Williams & Stephens set for all-American showdown

Story highlights

  • Sloane Stephens will play Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open
  • Stephens beat Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski, while Williams eased past Maria Kirilenko
  • Defending champion Victoria Azarenka into the last eight after win against Elena Vesnina
  • Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki beaten by Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova

As a child, Sloane Stephens decorated her bedroom walls with pictures of the Williams sisters. Later this week, the 19-year-old will play third seed Serena Williams in her first grand slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open.

Stephens, seeded 29th, battled hard on Monday to see off the challenge of Serbia's Bojana Jovanovski 6-1 3-6 7-5 and set up a last eight tie with 15-time grand slam winner Williams.

The pair played each other in the recent Brisbane International event, with Williams emerging with a 6-4 6-3 triumph.

Read: Can Sloane succeed Serena and Venus?

"You've just got to go and treat it like another match," Stephens told a post-match press conference. "It wasn't like, 'Oh, my God, I played Serena, I'm going to be so great at all these other things because she just taught me so much.'

How do you beat Serena Williams?
How do you beat Serena Williams?


    How do you beat Serena Williams?


How do you beat Serena Williams? 01:19
Is Serena Williams the greatest ever?
Is Serena Williams the greatest ever?


    Is Serena Williams the greatest ever?


Is Serena Williams the greatest ever? 04:12
Williams sisters show off dancing skills
Williams sisters show off dancing skills


    Williams sisters show off dancing skills


Williams sisters show off dancing skills 01:54

"It was just another match, regular match. Little things that you just take and move on. That was two weeks ago now, three weeks ago ... I played seven other matches or eight other matches, so I'm kind of past what happened then.

"But I think definitely just treat it as another match. You just go out and do your best."

Williams continued her imperious run of form with a 6-2 6-0 defeat of Russia's No. 14 Maria Kirilenko. The 31-year-old is aiming to secure a sixth success at the Melbourne grand slam.

World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka could face Williams in the semifinals. The defending champion eased into the last eight with a straight-forward 6-1 6-1 win against Russian Elena Vesnina.

"I was focused and in control from the beginning," said Belarus' Azarenka. "That was important for me. I feel like I'm improving from match to match. I just want to keep going the same way."

Next up for Azarenka is another Russian in the shape of Svetlana Kuznetsova, who got the better of former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. Denmark's Wozniacki is still searching for the first grand slam title of her career.

"You obviously don't feel great when you lose, so I think that's pretty obvious," explained 10th seed Wozniacki. "But it was a close game. I had my chances and I didn't take them. I could have won but I didn't.

"I'm encouraged about the way I played and the way I came out of some situations and the way I was playing the points. Obviously I would have loved to have won today, but it didn't happen."


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.