Stephens Close, but Serena Still Reigns
After winning three straight events coming into Indian Wells, it seemed like Sloane Stephens was finally coming into her own.
She may be, but Serena Williams is already in hers.
Stephens came out quickly, but Serena then reminded everyone that she was the ATP No 1 for a reason.
Praised as a succesor to the Williams sisters, Stephens has struggled living up to expectations, but finally, she looks settled. Although she was overpowered by Serena after picking off the first set, her progress in closing the gap is visible.
But this event belonged to Serena.
Her highly publicized boycott of Indian Wells began 14 years ago, after one a controversional final where she won but was roundly booed for allegations that her father rigged the semi-final match against older sister Venus. Richard Williams was rumored to believe that Serena had a better chance to beat Kim Clijsters, but it was never proven. Meanwhile, the Williams family perceived the umbrage as a racist slight and the shun was on.
Williams has since dismissed Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets to set up a title clash with Simona Halep this Sun 22 Mar.