Stephens battles back
to reach Singapore final
Sally Milano | October 27, 2018
Sloane Stephens battled back from a set down to defeat Karolina Pliskova, 0-6, 6-4, 6-1, Saturday to reach the final of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore for the first time in her career.
The 25-year-old American, ranked sixth in the WTA rankings, will face world No. 7 Elina Svitolina in Sunday’s final. Svitolina, who beat Kiki Bertens in her semifinal match, is the first player from Ukraine to reach the season-ending championships.
In the semifinals against Pliskova, Stephens lost the first eight games of the match before breaking the Czech’s serve in the third game of the second set and then taking 12 of the next 15 games.
“I came out here a little bit nervous, and I wasn’t really feeling the ball,” Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, said in an on-court interview following the match.
“I had a bit of an adrenaline dump after I finally won one game. I was really fired up, so I was like, ‘OK, come on! Let’s do this! I can win one game, maybe I can win two, then three.’ And I just started to feel the ball a little better.”
Stephens has a perfect 4-0 record so far in Singapore, going 3-0 in Red Group play with wins over reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka, Bertens and 2018 Wimbledon winner and top-seeded Angelique Kerber.
The American has a career 2-1 record against her final opponent Svitolina, last defeating the Ukrainian, 6-3, 6-3, at the Rogers Cup in Montreal this past summer. The two also split a pair of matches in 2014, at the Australian Open (Stephens won, 7-5, 6-4) and Charleston (Svitolina won, 6-4, 6-4).
“It will be a great match,” Stephens said when looking ahead to Sunday’s championship. “There is a reason she’s in the final. I’ve had a great week, and hopefully I can finish off in the right way.”