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Tennis: Stephens to lead US Fed Cup team against France

World number 18 Sloane Stephens will lead the United States when they host France in a Fed Cup World Group playoff in St. Louis, Missouri, this month. The US Tennis Association and Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced the US squad for the April 19-20 tie on Wednesday, with Sloane heading a team that also includes Madison Keys, Varvara Lepchenko and Christina McHale. Keys is ranked 42nd in the world, Lepchenko 49th and McHale 57th. The best-of-five match series will be played at Chaifetz Arena on the campus of Saint Louis University.

Williams win sets up all-American Stephens clash

By Larry Fine NEW YORK (Reuters) - Defending champion Serena Williams beat unseeded Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3 6-1 on Friday to set up a U.S. Open fourth-round clash with fellow American Sloane Stephens. Four-time U.S. Open winner Williams grabbed the only service break of the first set in the sixth game and immediately seized the advantage by breaking the 78th-ranked Shvedova in the opening game of the second set and charged on to victory.

Stephens beats American compatriot to reach last 16

By Larry Fine NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rising U.S. player Sloane Stephens took care of business against Fed Cup team mate and friend Jamie Hampton, powering her way to a 6-1 6-3 victory to earn a place in the round of 16 at the U.S. Open on Friday. In a showcase between two players among a promising group of emerging U.S. women, 15th seed Stephens used a combination of bigger groundstrokes and more accurate serves to charge past an error-prone Hampton in 63 minutes.

Stephens at ease on the big stage

By Julian Linden NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the anointed leader of the next generation of American tennis players, Sloane Stephens is getting used to being in the spotlight. At the U.S. Open on Wednesday, there was she again, under the bright lights of New York but in the most intimidating stadium in world tennis. The 20-year-old had been a bundle of nerves in her first match on Monday at Louis Armstrong Stadium and needed nearly three hours to advance.

'Hairy' performance down to home stage spotlight: Stephens

By Will Swanton NEW YORK (Reuters) - After being perplexed by a suggestion that her first match at the U.S. Open was "hairy," Sloane Stephens admitted the bald truth - the spotlight at her home grand slam can be overwhelmingly bright. The 20-year-old American was riddled with nerves before recovering to beat Luxembourg's Mandy Minella 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) in her opening match on Monday.

Tennis-Teenager Stephens realises last eight is 'pretty cool'

By Greg Stutchbury MELBOURNE, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Sloane Stephens had a "pretty cool" realisation after she beat Bojana Jovanovski on Monday, she's going to become a member of the Australian Open's "last eight club". The club is an actual players' lounge, but Stephens was referring to a prominent corridor at Melbourne Park where the portraits of the previous year's quarter-finalists are hung.

Tennis-Stephens and Robson offer glimpse of burgeoning rivalry

By Simon Cambers MELBOURNE, Jan 19 (Reuters) - The Australian Open offered a glimpse of what could become the rivalry of the future as American Sloane Stephens beat Britain's Laura Robson in a third-round battle on Saturday. The two teenagers battled it out in front of a raucous crowd, with 29th seed Stephens eventually coming through 7-5 6-3 to take her place in the last 16.
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