Family Circle Cup GM “excited” about Sloane Stephens Australian Open upset of Serena Williams

Sloane Stephens of the US hits a backhand return to compatriot Serena Williams during their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.(AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)

Family Circle Cup management was not pulling against the tournament’s defending champion and fan favorite. But Sloane Stephens’ Australian Open upset of Serena Williams on Wednesday is good for the future of American tennis, and that’s great for the Family Circle Cup.

“I think Sloane is making a major breakthrough,” Family Circle Cup General Manager Bob Moran said Wednesday. “If my math is right, she is going to jump at least to No. 15 (in the WTA rankings).”

The 19-year-old Stephens resides in Plantation, Fla.

Stephens, seeded No. 29 at the Australian Open, defeated Williams, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Stephens’ next Australian Open match is Thursday against top seed Victoria Azarenka. No. 2 Maria Sharapova and No. 6 Na Li are in the other women’s semifinal.

“I’m really excited,” Moran said, pointing out that the WTA top 100 soon probably will include 11 Americans.

Stephens, the daughter of late former NFL running back John Stephens, played at the Family Circle Cup in 2011 and 2012.

Moran hopes Stephens returns for the 2013 Family Circle Cup, set for March 30 to April 7 on Daniel Island, but said he will not know for sure until mid-February.

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