Print and Go Back ESPN.com: espnW [Print without images]

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Hitting my stride in Australia

By Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens has won both of her first two matches at the Australian Open.

I'm happy to report that I'm two-for-two so far here in Melbourne! I've come out with two victories against Romania's Simona Halep and France's Kristina Mladenovic.

Although the conditions were again very hot Thursday against Kristina, it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. As I was about to take the court, one of the players came off and said her leg was going numb and she couldn't see out of her right eye, so I thought, "Oh my God, I'm gonna die." But when I got out there, it was fine. I had some extra Powerade and water bottles with me and loaded up on carbs the night before at Pizza Napoli -- my favorite restaurant of the tournament. I think that helped me through.

I also had a nice and slow day off on Wednesday after my match against Simona. I did a light practice, went to the physio and spent some time on the couch watching my favorite shows, "The Good Wife" and "Scandal." After I caught up on those, I went to dinner and called it a day.

On Thursday I didn't play until late in the day, so I went to the gym for a light workout, rode the bike a little bit and spent some time doing my favorite gym activity, stretching. (It's my favorite because you just sit down and don't have to do too much).

Before a match, I always like to listen to the same playlist; right now, I'm obsessed with "Freedom" by Nicki Minaj, "Your Body" by Christina Aguilera and "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift. I get a constant reminder of my mom, too, because we share an iTunes account and her Barry Manilow songs (she has every album in the world) keep popping up.

I usually like to call her right before I play anyway, just to see what she's up to and keep my mind off any nerves. My coach likes to talk a lot too, so I listen to him. I usually keep to myself, away from any other players, but today, I had a ravishing conversation with Melanie Oudin for about an hour and a half! She kept me good and distracted.

Now, of course, I'm off to dinner (again) at Pizza Napoli. The gnocchi pesto is really good, and it seems to be giving me the good luck I need. I have another day off on Friday, so I'm hoping to go to the zoo or aquarium. I really want to see a koala and a kangaroo before I leave Australia. I'm also still waiting to meet Rebel Wilson -- she's a hilarious comedian and actress who I love.