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  Topic Review (Newest First)
Jan 4th, 2005 06:09 PM

Second seed Lisa Raymond saved five match points in the third-set tiebreaker to beat fourth seed Alexandra Stevenson in the final of the Kroger St Jude in Memphis.Raymond prevailed 4-6 6-3 7-6 (11/9) in the all-American women's final to collect her third career WTA title.

In the deciding tie-break, Raymond took the opening two points but Stevenson responded, taking six of the next seven points to give her three match points.

"I haven't played a match like that since college," Raymond said. "The fans and the atmosphere on the court was incredible."

After saving her fourth match point, Raymond served for the title at 9-8, but Stevenson levelled once again.

Raymond, who used her serve-and-volley game to great effect in the final two sets, punched a winner at the net to make it 10-9 and after two hours four minutes Stevenson committed another unforced error to give Raymond the title.

"I'm happy I got to the final. Of course, I would have rather won the match, but I'm going to take it in my stride," Stevenson said.

"It was a great feeling out there. The fans were loud and it was electric. I'm glad we gave them a good show. I was just unlucky today."
Jan 4th, 2005 06:03 PM
Becool No such luck this time

Alexandra Stevenson bows out in first round of U.S. Open

Posted: Tuesday August 31, 1999 11:12 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Alexandra Stevenson made banner headlines this year at Wimbledon as much for the confirmation she is the daughter of former basketball great Julius Erving as for becoming the first female qualifier to reach the semifinals of that Grand Slam event.

But the Wimbledon wondergirl's return to the U.S. Open was short-lived after a 6-2 6-2 first-round loss to 11th-seeded Nathalie Tauziat of France, who gave the bubbly Californian teen a 59-minute tennis lesson. "Grass is definitely a different game," Stevenson said. "And my game's great on grass, and it will be great on hardcourt. I just need to work harder and learn a lot more and play some more matches."

It appears that no matter what kind of controversy surrounds the 18-year-old, Stevenson has learned to keep up a bubbly demeanor, insisting nothing disrupts her life.

"There's an aftermath in the media, not in my life," Stevenson said. "I'm the same person and I'm living the same life. Nothing's changed except cab drivers know me now."

And so do young tennis fans who clamored for her autograph following the match as if she were a bonefide star .

Nevertheless, Stevenson does say she would have preferred not to become a curiosity over her celebrity parentage.

"I would have liked to have kept my private life private, but some people thought that should have been discovered," Stevenson said. "I mean, you have your good journalists and your bad journalists and the people like that like to divulge information.

"When you're in the public eye, a lot of people are going to want to know about your private life. You can't get upset about it because it happened, and it's going to happen."

Stevenson, who won the bronze medal at the Pan American games this summer, has now played the U.S. Open main draw twice, losing in the first round each time.

The American's game was sloppy on all fronts, having great difficulty with both her offense and defense, recording 28 unforced errors to only 7 winners.

This outfit is so cute too
Jan 4th, 2005 05:57 PM
Becool Stevenson makes history
Dr. J admits the first woman qualifier to reach semifinals is his daughter

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Alexandra Stevenson's life changed irrevocably Friday, a day she made history at Wimbledon and basketball great Julius Erving told the world he is her father.

Serving more aces than Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi combined in their quarterfinal wins, the 18-year-old Stevenson kept her Wimbledon fantasy alive by becoming the first qualifier to reach the women's semis.

Only one man, John McEnroe in 1978, reached the Wimbledon semifinals as a qualifier since qualifying competition began in 1925 to include a few players not selected for the main draw.

Stevenson served 15 aces at speeds up to 113 mph in a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Jelena Dokic, the 16-year-old qualifier who knocked out No. 1 Martina Hingis and No. 9 Mary Pierce.

Two hours later, Erving told The Associated Press that an earlier report he was her father was true, and that he has been supporting her financially.

Erving said his wife, Turquoise, knew of his relationship with Samantha Stevenson, a free-lance writer who covered the Philadelphia 76ers while Dr. J starred on the team, and that his four children were aware of the situation.

"All matters concerning Alexandra since her birth have been handled privately through counsel," Erving said from his office in Orlando, Fla., where he is a vice president with the NBA's Magic. "I am pleased to see Alexandra, at 18, doing so well and I applaud her mother's efforts and courage."

The possibility of Erving being Stevenson's father was raised this week when the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel published a copy of her birth certificate. The Basketball Hall of Famer initially denied being her father.

Erving said Friday he met Alexandra only once, when she was 3, and that it was "her call" whether they would start a relationship.

Stevenson and her mother again refused to speak about Erving, even after learning of his statement.

Samantha Stevenson has written many times about her efforts to raise her daughter to be a champion.

"What makes a champion?" she asked rhetorically in a World Tennis article in 1987. "Red Smith (the late New York Times sports columnist) once told me it's in the blood. I agree. A world-class athlete is born with the ability to be great. Alexandra has it. You do know if your child's got it."

She never named her daughter's father publicly but did tell several confidantes. Now Alexandra Stevenson will forever be identified as the daughter of one of the greatest basketball players in history.

Stevenson was 9 in 1990 when Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon for the last time, and she heard someone ask Navratilova if there will ever be a great serve-and-volleyer like her again.

"She said there is some 9- or 10-year-old who is going to be coming up," Stevenson said. "I was watching it and my mom was in the bedroom, and I said, 'Hey, mom, that's me.' I really thought it was going to be me. It's great that it's kind of coming true."

Stevenson still has to get past Lindsay Davenport in the semis, and Steffi Graf or Mirjana Lucic in the final. But no one who saw the way she served and volleyed and struck deep, sizzling one-handed backhands against Dokic could dismiss her chances.

Big one-handed backhands are rare in women's tennis. Graf hits with one hand but mostly slices the ball. Stevenson comes over the top with power, a shot she learned from Sampras' old coach, Pete Fischer. Like Sampras, Stevenson had to switch from being a two-hander at Fischer's insistence.

"I had a great two-handed backhand," she said. "When I was 11 years old, he said, 'That's it, you're switching,' and I cried. I was very upset."

When Stevenson reverted to the two-hander in the final of a tournament soon afterward, Fischer got angry and walked out.

"I ended up winning the match because I hit two hands, but he said later, 'If you ever use two hands again, I'll never coach you,"' she recalled. "Since then I've never put two hands on my backhand."

Stevenson's style resembles Sampras' in other ways -- the lunging volleys, the crushing topspin forehands, and the serve that is faster and more varied than most other women. In fact, Stevenson's approach to the game resembles men's grass tennis, depending less on long rallies and more on risky shots from the baseline and the net. Stevenson certainly took her chances while serving, and it paid off in a match that began Thursday, was stopped by rain at 6-3, 1-5, and finished in a half-hour amid sunshine Friday.

Jan 4th, 2005 05:55 PM

Teen queens II

Stevenson, Lucic advance to semifinals

Posted: Friday July 02, 1999 06:12 PM

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- American Alexandra Stevenson, just over a month out of high school, made history Friday by reaching the Wimbledon semifinals with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 victory over 16-year-old Australian qualifier Jelena Dokic.

Stevenson became the first woman qualifier to reach the Wimbledon semifinals in the tournament's 113-year history in a match played over two days because of rain Thursday.

Dokic would have made the same history had she won.

In the other women's quarterfinal, 17-year-old Mirjana Lucic of Croatia overcame Nathalie Tauziat, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5. Tauziat served for the match at 5-4 in the third set, but Lucic won the last three games to take the match.

"This is the best win so far in my career -- she's such a great player," said Lucic after her victory.

The young Croatian's best Grand Slam singles performance to date was reaching the third round of the U.S. Open. She also won the Australian Open doubles title last year with Martina Hingis, two months shy of her 16th birthday.

Lucic, ranked No. 134 in the world, now faces her childhood hero, Steffi Graf, in the semifinals on Saturday. She insists her game will not be affected by sentimentality.

"She was always my favorite player," says Lucic, "but she definitely will not be my hero on Saturday.

"I've played her twice before, and lost both times, but I'm ready for this one now. I will fight as much as I can because I want to win. Steffi is beatable. Everybody is beatable."

Stevenson, who cracked 15 aces in her win, plays fellow American Lindsay Davenport in Saturday's other semifinal.

Stevenson, 18, has been surrounded by controversy throughout the tournament with her mother, Samantha, alleging racism and lesbianism on the WTA Tour.

She has also been caught up in questions about her parentage. A birth certificate obtained by The Associated Press lists her father as Julius Winfield Erving II, the same formal name of basketball great Julius "Dr. J" Erving.

Erving first denied the allegations, but on Friday he admitted to the The Associated Press that he was indeed Stevenson's father.

The American was also initially classified as an amateur, although Wimbledon officials later gave her professional status. She is guaranteed of winning $114,704 for reaching the semifinals in her first tournament as a professional.

The Belgrade-born Dokic, leading the second set 5-1 and serving at 30-40, won three straight points when the match was resumed Friday on Court 1 after a wash out Thursday on Court 2.

Neither the American nor the Australian played well early in the third set as Stevenson broke in the second game with Dokic breaking back in the fourth to level at 2-2.

Eventually Dokic's unreliable serving let her down as the powerful, 6-foot-1 American began cracking her vicious one-hand backhand and spotting her 110-mph serves.

Dokic double faulted five times in the third set. She also had five double faults losing the first set. Stevenson all but closed out the match in the sixth game when she again took advantage of Dokic's poor serving to break again and lead 4-2. They each held their next two service games with Stevenson claiming the match when the Australian hit a forehand long.

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