Elina Svitolina Beat Sloane Stephens, Wins WTA Finals In Singapore

by Samuel Abasi Posted on October 29th, 2018

Singapore :  An unwavering Elina Svitolina claimed the biggest title of her career with a gritty comeback victory against Sloane Stephens at the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore.

The Ukrainian once again dug deep to triumph 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in 2 hours and 23 minutes last night. She is the first player to go through the WTA Finals undefeated since Serena Williams in 2013.

Svitolina has been in brilliant, aggressive form in Singapore, beating defending champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, Czech players Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova at the group stage, and Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens in the semifinals.

Having started slowly in the semifinals, it was Stephens who made the running early and broke Svitolina to love in the second game.

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

Svitolina looked sluggish after playing the two longest matches in the tournament against Wozniacki and Bertens.

She saved three break points in the sixth game but was unable to convert two chances of her own in the American’s next service game.

Stephens’ blistering forehand dictated, as she ran away with the first set.

A more aggressive Svitolina went for her shots and clawed back into the contest. Even though she still struggled on serve, Svitolina attacked on return and broke twice to wear down a suddenly passive Stephens.

Svitolina fittingly forced a decider in a tournament which has had a record-setting amount of three-set matches.

The 24-year-old’s momentum continued as she produced an astounding run down winner to break the former US Open champion in the second game.

But Stephens wouldn’t roll over as she attacked Svitolina’s serve and broke in the fifth game.

The twists continued as Svitolina hit back immediately and stormed home as a wayward backhand from Stephens sparked jubilation from the No. 6 seed.

Svitolina could rise three spots to world No. 4 on the rankings after her triumph and she has now won nine straight finals.

It ended the tournament’s five-year run in Singapore with the season-finale moving to Shenzhen in south China’s Guangdong Province.

Earlier, Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic played a masterclass to upset world No. 1 Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in the doubles decider.

The world No. 3 pairing held the edge throughout to triumph 6-4, 7-5 in 84 minutes.

Hungarian Babos defended her crown, having won last year’s WTA Finals with Czech Andrea Hlavackova.

Babos and Mladenovic qualified for the decider after a pulsating semifinal, defeating Ashleigh Barty of Australia and American Coco Vendeweghe 10-8 in the super tiebreak set.

“The first tournament of the season, we won a slam (Australian Open) and the last tournament of the season we won… it’s a privilege,” France’s Mladenovic said after the match.

Image: Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina celebrates after beating Sloane Stephens of the United States 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the WTA Finals in Singapore last night.

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Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

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