Stephens reaches final
with Azarenka win in Miami
Arthur Kapetanakis | March 29, 2018
Sloane Stephens recovered from a slow start to defeat wild card Victoria Azarenka, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, and reach her first Miami Open final.
With the victory, Stephens is assured of a new career-high WTA ranking next week, when she will enter the Top 10 for the first time.
The 2017 US Open champion and No. 13 seed found herself trailing, 6-3, 2-0, against a resurgent Azarenka before finding her game to take control of the afternoon semifinal.
After an early second-set visit from her coach, Kamau Murray, Stephens seemed to flip a switch. It was one-way traffic once the Florida native found her groove, and she quickly leveled the match by winning six straight games to take the second set.
The third set was more of the same, as the 25-year-old wore down her Belarusian opponent, who finished the match with 40 unforced errors.ADVERTISEMENT
As the match approached the two-hour mark, there looked to be only one winner, and after two hours, nine minutes in the Miami sun, it was Stephens who claimed her second victory over Azarenka in as many tournaments.
With Stephens safely through, Danielle Collins will take on Jelena Ostapenko Thursday at 9 p.m., with a chance to make Saturday's final an All-American affair.