Venus Williams And Sloane Stephens Set To Face Off In Exhibition Match In Atlanta

Venus Williams And Sloane Stephens Set To Face Off In Exhibition Match In Atlanta

by Nurein Ahmed

The opening weekend of the Atlanta Open, an ATP-only tournament, will be headlined by two WTA stars who will play each other in an exhibition match.

The tournament has announced on its official X account (formerly Twitter) that seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams will square off against 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens on Sunday, July 21st, with tickets going on sale.

By scheduling a women's exhibition match on the weekend before the start of main draw action, the Atlanta Open follows in the footsteps of the Dallas Open, which marked its opening weekend in February by inviting Caroline Wozniacki and Eugenie Bouchard to play an exhibition.

The match will happen during the tennis players' preparations for the Olympics. But Venus will not be competing in Paris. The former World No. 1 is outside the world's Top 400 and is due to turn 44 in June. She returned to action at the start of the Sunshine Swing after recovering from a knee injury.

She played in Indian Wells and Miami but lost in the first round in both events. Her schedule for the remainder of the season remains unknown. Stephens is still in contention to qualify among the four best-ranked American women in the race but has admitted that she won't lose sleep over her absence at the Games.

The 31-year-old won her eighth career title at the Rouen Open last month but has lost three matches in a row. She is scheduled to appear at Roland Garros in late May, although there are concerns regarding her fitness after she retired from the Trophee Clarins WTA 125 tournament this week.

Venus and Stephens have met twice on the WTA Tour, with both matches coming at Grand Slam level. The younger of the two Americans leads the head-to-head 2-0, winning at the 2015 Roland Garros in straight sets and, most notably, in the semifinal of her title success at the 2017 US Open in three sets.


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