Daily Bagel: Sharapova, Li, Radwanska test their aim with water balloons
The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.
• Video: The WTA's top players were asked to throw water balloons at a target. Li Na hit the wrong target.
• Doug Robson catches up with Sloane Stephens.
After her breakthrough Australian Open a year ago, where she upset top-ranked [Serena] Williams on her way to the last four, Stephens failed to win back-to-back matches from mid-February to May. She went 7-9 and lost in the first round in four of eight tournaments.
But in Paris, Stephens picked it up, reaching the fourth round at the French Open, followed by a quarterfinal showing at Wimbledon and another fourth round at the U.S. Open. She was only one of three players (along with Williams and No. 3 Agniezska Radwanska) to reach at least the last-16 in all four majors of 2013.
In between, she often floundered, and she has yet to accomplish what some of her peers have already achieved: win a WTA title (Stephens hasn't even reached a final).
Stephens insists she doesn't get up for big events any more than smaller ones, saying it's "just how it's been."
Besides, she added: "I'm not going to put pressure on myself like I have to do so good in these other tournaments and then I'll lose first-round of a Grand Slam and be like, 'Oh my god, what do I do now?'"
• Maria Sharapova provides some happiness tips. Hint: They include a certain brand of candy.
• Thanks to an invitation from Mario Ancic, Novak Djokovic spoke to a class at Columbia Law School.
• Five minutes with Victoria Duval.
I think I’ve matured a lot. You can work as hard as you want, but if you’re not working smart it doesn’t do anything. I’ve had a lot more motivation since I lost a whole year to injury, from summer of 2011 to 2012. I felt like I needed to work double, but I’m working smart.
• Great oral history of last year's fantastic NCAA men's national championship duel between UCLA and Virginia.
• The evolution of women's tennis apparel.
• Charges have been dropped against the British man accused of courtside betting at the Australian Open.