Monday, 19 November, 2018

Sloane Stephens thumps Karolina Pliskova, enters final — WTA Finals

Naomi Osaka BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global Singapore Naomi Osaka's incredible breakthrough season ends in tears
Edward Snyder | 01 November, 2018, 13:24

The Ukrainian had defeated Kiki Bertens of The Netherlands to reach the final, while Stephens had beaten Karolína Plíšková of the Czech Republic. "I'm just going to give it my all and see what happens", she said.

"I am super happy that I was able to finish off the season the way I did".

"Of course I know that I've won lots of finals", Svitolina said.

Svitolina has failed to go beyond the quarter-finals of a grand slam, but showed she can handle the pressure of the big stage in what was the last edition of the tournament to be staged in Singapore.

It was a matchup of similar styles between the athletic counter-punchers and lengthy rallies punctuated the contest.

Ukrainian Svitolina had arrived in Singapore woefully out of form, but the baseliner gathered momentum as the tournament progressed, winning all three pool matches and semifinal before subduing a fast-starting Stephens.




Counter-puncher Svitolina continued to plug away, holding another tight service game to stay alive in the opener, but Stephens sealed the set when her opponent could only find the net with a backhand from deep behind the baseline.

Svitolina fell onto her back on the court in celebration, and then shared a hug with Stephens. Even though she still struggled on serve, Svitolina attacked on return and broke twice to wear down a suddenly passive Stephens.

The 24-year-old's momentum continued as she produced an astounding run down victor to break Stephens in the second game.

Svitolina exuded confidence in her ability to close the deal thanks to a record of 12 wins in 14 finals ahead of the showdown with Stephens, a statistic she wished she had not highlighted to the media after the American won the first set.

The Finals were held in Singapore for the fifth and final time before moving to the Chinese city of Shenzhen next year.

Earlier, Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic played a masterclass to upset world number one Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova in the doubles decider.

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