Let's not do a disservice to Sloane Stephens by anointing her the next Serena Williams or next great American champ, even though we need one. Although quite talented, we should let the 44th ranked player in the world, especially when she feels confident, be her own person and not have to shoulder additional expectations. Let's just let her enjoy being 19 and having a good 2012.
After beating Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champ, in the first round of the US Open, people are too eager to make more of a match result and a good summer after getting to the fourth round of the French Open. Last year, Stephens reached the third round of the Open.
Stephens showed uneasiness in her 2nd round match to Tatjana Malek winning 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. She had difficulty constructing points to offset the constant changing tactics of a player almost 100 positions lower than her. Absent was her strong serve and opportunities to set up her best shot, her forehand crosscourt. Stephens made a match of it by hanging in there on a bad day where both players had many unforced errors, and by trying to come in and getting in some good slice serves.
At some point Stephens might have some of the same success as Serena Williams who got to the third round in her first US Open, and in her second, she won it in 1999. Hopefully Stephens has a similar career ahead of her and can achieve Serena's greatness of 44 titles, 29 Grand Slam titles. The comparison has been made of other players after a good run at a Slam to a US Open champion, like Shenay Perry to Serena Williams, or Alexandra Stevenson to Venus Williams, or Melanie Oudin to Chris Evert. Playing and trying to win and eventually achieve greatness are hard enough without any undue pressure to be the next great American player.