MELBOURNE, Australia — Serena Williams’ dominating run at the majors is over.
American teenager Sloane Stephens is headed to the semifinals of the Australian Open.
Williams hurt her back in the eighth game of the second set, slowing down her serve, restricting her movement and causing her obvious pain.
But the 19-year-old Stephens kept her composure, blocking out the injury issue on the opposite side of the net, and rallied for a 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory today — by far the most significant in her seven Grand Slams.
It was Williams’ first loss since Aug. 17 for the 15-time Grand Slam winner, ending a run of 20 consecutive wins.
She hadn’t lost a match at a Grand Slam tournament since the French Open, where her first-round exit sparked a resurgence in the second half of 2012 that included titles at Wimbledon, the London Olympics, the U.S. Open and the WTA Championship.
After winning her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, Stephens next plays defending champion Victoria Azarenka.
The No. 29-seeded Stephens had been given barely a chance of beating Williams, who lost only four matches in 2012 and was in contention to regain the No. 1 ranking at the age of 31.
Williams’ latest winning streak included a straight-sets win over Stephens at the Brisbane International earlier this month.
And Stephens wasn’t even sure that she could beat Williams, until she woke up Wednesday.
“When I got up, I was like, ‘Look, Dude, like, you can do this.’ Like, ‘Go out and play and do your best," she said.
Azarenka overcame some early jitters to beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-1 in the earlier quarterfinal match at Rod Laver Arena.
In the men’s quarterfinals, U.S. Open champion Andy Murray reached the semifinals after a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win over unseeded Jeremy Chardy of France. The 25-year-old Murray had his service broken for only the second time while serving for the match. But he broke back in the next game to clinch a quarterfinal victory. In a later match. 17-time major winner Roger Federer was playing No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic is still on course in his bid for a third consecutive Australian Open title and is already through to the semifinals, where he will meet No. 4-seeded David Ferrer of Spain.