French Open 2012: Sloane Stephens and Americans Who Will Be Future Stars
The French Open is a stunning event. It is a platform for the best of the tennis world to show fans just how good they are.
But it is also a stage for up-and-coming payers to show the world what to expect of them.
American tennis has been a bit down in recent years, but these young stars will hopefully be able to transform America back into a world-power.
Here are five Americans, playing in the French Open, who will be future stars.
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Stephens is only 19 years old, but is already showing that she can hang with the big girls. The Fort Lauderdale product is currently ranked No. 70 on the Pro Tour.
A strong showing at Roland Garros could only push her higher.
The teenager started out her French Open journey with a convincing first-round win on Monday. Stephens defeated Ekaterina Makarova, who is ranked No. 37. It was a disheartening defeat for the Russian who fell to Stephens in straight sets (6-4,7-6).
The American won the Junior French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in 2010 and will soon become a shining star in Red, White and Blue tennis.
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The "Lady Gaga of the tennis world" is a talented American player who will soon be known for more than just her fashion sense but also her skills on the court.
The 27-year-old is currently ranked at No. 171 on the WTA tour and achieved a career-highest ranking of No. 30 last July.
The Phoenix native has impressed so far in France as she hopes to better her ranking.
The future did not look too bright for Mattek-Sands because she had a first round match with world No. 12 Sabine Lisicki. But that did not stop the American who defeated Lisicki in straight sets (6-4,6-3) and it was not even close.
Expect Mattek-Sands to continue to impress and morph into a future star for America.
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Harrison is an up-and-coming tennis star from Texas who is currently ranked at No. 56, which is the highest ranking ever in his career.
But Harrison, now 20, achieved in elite feat when he was 15 years old.
Fifteen years, 11 months and seven days just to be exact.
When he was that age he became the third-youngest player in the last decade to win a match and only the tenth player in the Open Era to win a match before his 16th birthday.
He is currently playing world No. 11 Giles Simon in the first round of the French Open. I will keep you posted for results.
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Tommy Haas is a bit different then the others on this list.
For starters he is 34 years old and has never won a Grand Slam tournament.
I wanted to include the prodigy Donald Young on this list but he opted out of the French Open with a wrist injury.
So we are left with the veteran.
Haas has faced a career plagued with injuries, but featured some bright spots such as a silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
But Haas can still become a star.
If he plays well in France and creates some noise in the tournament his momentum will grow and he could carry that wave into some distinctive victories down the road.
Haas has made somewhat of a career-resurgence in recent years and should continue that while hopefully regaining some skill that went into his world No. 2 ranking in 2002.
But first he has to get by Filippo Volandri in the first round.
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Lepchenko is currently ranked at No. 61 in the world and the 26-year-old is just going to get better for America.
She played for Uzbekistan from 2001 until 2006. But in 2007, Lepchenko became a U.S. citizen and has represented the United States in WTA tournaments ever since.
"I don't miss Uzbekistan at all. It's just in my past. I feel like I belong here," Lepchenko said of America.
She also belongs on the top of the tennis world and will continue to steadily rise becoming a better payer with every swing of her racquet.
Lepchenko is currently taking on the Russian Ksenia Pervak in the first round of the French Open.