Stephens beating Serena makes 
her poster child for major upset

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Retired basketball star Shaquille O’Neal sent a message that read: “When u defeat a legend you become a legend.” The Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki wrote, “Wow. What a win for Sloane. Some amazing defense. She gets every ball back.”

Stephens checked her phone during her post-match news conference and said there were 213 text messages waiting for her.

Like many a teenager, her first concern was about how high her phone bill might be.

“I thought it was free to receive text messages, but someone told me otherwise,” she said.

Her mother “is going to be like, ‘The money you were going to buy yourself something nice with, you’re going to pay your phone bill.’”

She’s set for her biggest payday, regardless of the result in Thursday’s semifinal against defending champion Victoria Azarenka, who beat two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1 in the previous match in Rod Laver Arena.

The semifinal losers earn $525,000, double what the quarterfinal losers receive. For Williams, there’s a further $1,500 deduction after she was fined for racket abuse.

Stephens had practiced with Williams for the Fed Cup, but had played her only once, a straight sets loss at the Brisbane International earlier this month.

“Brisbane helped me because I got the first time we played out of the way,” she said. “First time is always tough. Definitely I was glad that I got it there … it helped me raise my level.”

She’ll need to maintain that level within 24 hours to play the top-ranked Azarenka on Thursday. That will follow the semifinal between No. 2-ranked Maria Sharapova and No. 6 Li Na, the 2011 French Open champion.

The makeup of the men’s semifinals was as expected.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic will continue his bid for a third consecutive Australian title Thursday when he takes on No. 4 David Ferrer. No. 2 Roger Federer and No. 3 Andy Murray will meet Friday.

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