For the first time in her career, Serena Williams lost to a younger American women's player as Sloane Stephens pulled off the upset to advance to the semifinals in Melbourne.
Like many, Sloane Stephens grew up watching American star Serena Williams dominate the tennis world.
Unlike most, the 19-year-old stood on the court Wednesday in Melbourne, faced with the task of putting all the film study to work at the Australian Open women's quarterfinals.
Through persistence -- and with the benefit of facing a hobbled Williams -- Stephens advanced past her hero, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Stephens became the first American teen to advance to a Grand Slam semifinal since -- you guessed it -- Williams, in 2001.
Third-seeded Williams appeared to be well on her way to a victory against the No. 29 seed Stephens in straight sets, but with a 5-4 lead in the second set, she suffered a back injury when coming to the net. Stopping sharply to avoid touching it, Williams screamed and grimaced. She played out the point, which she won, before leaving the court to receive medical attention.
The match doctor later diagnosed the injury as back spasms.
Returning a few minutes later, Williams showed notably less mobility and a serve that barely broke 90 miles per hour before losing the set.
She continued to fight through the third, leading 2-1 when she took out frustrations on her racquet at one point, but time seemed to be slowly running out on her tournament run.
Stephens took control of the match from 4-4 and closed it out for the win.
Stephens will not have long to rest; she'll meet Belarusian Victoria Azarenka, the No. 1 seed, in the semifinals without a day of rest between matches.