Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Elina Svitolina strikes back to seal BNP Paribas WTA Finals title

Japan's Naomi Osaka was forced to retire from the WTA Finals with a left hamstring injury Japan's Naomi Osaka was forced to retire from the WTA Finals with a left hamstring injury More
Isaac Mcdaniel | 31 October, 2018, 02:22

Svitolina will meet the victor of Saturday night's late semi-final between Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova, in search of the biggest title of her career on Sunday.

The 25-year-old American had lost the first eight games of the match to the seventh seed and appeared to be close to shipping a ninth when Pliskova had two points to lead 3-0.

Pliskova committed 21 unforced errors in the second and she was no more composed in the third as both players proved unable to hold serve until Stephens did in the fourth game with an ace to take a 3-1 lead.

After a chat with coach Raemon Sluiter at the changeover, Bertens regrouped and broke Svitolina in the opening game of the second set.

Sloane Stephens overcame a awful start against Karolina Pliskova to win 0-6, 6-4, 6-1 at the WTA Finals on Saturday, setting up a championship match against Elina Svitolina.

"I think physically, in the end, it was just about running and chasing every ball down".

"There is this level of pain that I can play with, so I definitely was going to play", she said. "Obviously, it was not the result I wanted but I worked really hard to get here, am proud of my play and really pleased with what I did this week", Stephens said.

Osaka claimed her first WTA title after winning the Indian Wells Masters in March and she has experienced a rapid rise, having been as low as 72nd in the rankings in January.

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After topping Red Group, Stephens will play Czech Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals.

Sloane Stephens recorded her fifth straight win over top seed Angelique Kerber to reach the semi-finals on her debut appearance in the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Back then, the "haters" - Svitolina's word - complained that she had backed into the year-end championships so unconvincingly that you could nearly hear her going beep-beep-beep.

"Yeah, that's definitely good statement for myself and good boost of, can't say confidence, because I always try to have the confidence in myself".

World No. 9 Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands advanced to the semi-final round of the WTA Finals in Singapore on Friday after Japan's Naomi Osaka was forced to retire due to injury.

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

Serving for her place in the final, Svitolina saved two break points before shutting Bertens down. But yesterday when she told me she's so sad that she can't find a way to win.

The 24-year-old has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam but is determined to build on her Singapore conquest, which also included defeating defending champion Caroline Wozniacki.

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