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Friday, December 19, 2008

Who is Alexandra Stevenson?

Who is Alexandra Stevenson? She is a professional tennis player from the United States. She was born December 15, 1980 in La Jolla, California.

In 1999, Stevenson, in her first appearance at Wimbledon, became the first woman qualifier in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals, and the second woman qualifier after Christine Matison in the 1978 Australian Open to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament.[2] In the fourth round, she saved one match point against Lisa Raymond in a 2–6, 7–6, 6–1 win. She then beat Jelena Dokić in three sets in the quarter-finals, before finally being knocked out in straight sets by the eventual champion, Lindsay Davenport. Stevenson joined Chris Evert and Anna Kournikova as the only women in recent times to reach the semi-finals on their Wimbledon debut.

As a junior player, Stevenson won the US Open girls' doubles title in 1997. She was ranked the No. 5 junior in the US in 1996.

Stevenson has been coached by her mother, Samantha Stevenson. The identity of her father was not publicly known at the time she became professional in 1999. But it was soon revealed that her father was the former NBA star Julius Erving, who had a relationship with Samantha Stevenson in 1980, when Stevenson was a sports writer in Philadelphia and Erving was playing for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Stevenson suffered an extensive labral tear in her right shoulder in January 2003. She had surgery on September 21, 2004.

In 2006, following 18 months of shoulder strengthening, Stevenson began a baseball pitcher-type rehabilitation to gain muscle endurance in her shoulder. This required a similar baseball rehab program of innings in and innings out which resulted in retirements during tournaments.

Stevenson played in the qualifying round at the 2006 Wimbledon, but after defeating Jelena Dokić, a player that she had played in 1999 in the Wimbledon quarters, when they were both qualifiers, she suffered a pectoral strain and fell in the second round of qualifiers. At the 2006 Cincinnati Women's Open, she also had a successful run in the qualifying round, but continued shoulder pain caused her to fall in the 4th and final round to Chin-Wei Chen 3–6, 6–3, 7–5. Shoulder issues stayed with Stevenson through the first half of 2007.

Stevenson has announced that her shoulder is strong and she plans to play the second half of 2007. Stevenson intends to play a full schedule on the WTA Tour in 2008.

Stevenson is thought to the be the first player at Wimbledon to curtsy to the crowds in all directions after successfully completing her 1999 match against Jelena Dokić, claiming she was copying Andre Agassi, who had bowed to the crowd at the end of his matches. After this match, she regularly followed this procedure at the end of her matches.

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