Svitolina has ‘nothing to prove’ after WTA Finals triumph

Arnold Nichols
October 31, 2018

Japan's Naomi Osaka reacts after retiring during her singles match against Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands at the WTA Finals tennis tournament in Singapore on October 26, 2018 following an injury.

After Sloane Stephens lost the first eight games of her WTA Finals last-four encounter to a relentless Karolina Pliskova on Saturday, the American's only thought was to avoid a dreaded "double-bagel" (6-0 6-0).

The Ukrainian raced to a 3-0 lead in the third set, but Stephens managed to secure a break in the fifth game. She is the first player to go through the WTA Finals undefeated since Serena Williams in 2013. "So tomorrow is going to be another challenge and I want to play at the same level", she said ahead of Sunday's final against Sloane Stephens.

A pumped-up Svitolina made the better start, chasing down every ball to earn an early break, but the aggressive Bertens broke back as she began to find her range with a blistering forehand loaded with heavy topspin.

Wozniacki knew only a straight-set victory would see her advance from the group stage but after taking the opening set, Svitolina assumed control to win the match 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 and progress to the final four.

The trend of this tournament suggested the match would go to three sets, however - 10 matches have gone the distance this week, beating the previous high of six - and it duly did so when Svitolina ran away with the second set.

"I have nothing to prove any more to anyone", Svitolina, 24, said.

"It was such a tough battle today and I'm very happy I could win in the end".

A determined Elina Svitolina overcame the relentless power of Kiki Bertens during a gruelling semi-final in Singapore, continuing a dogged quest for her first WTA Finals triumph. "I think that's a really nice feeling", Bertens said.

"It's been a insane year, I think", Osaka told reporters after retiring from her final group match following the loss of the first set to Kiki Bertens on Friday. I wouldn't say confident but I'm more, like, I have inner peace. "It's the last match of the season, definitely now, and I'm going to give my best and leave everything on court".

Sloane Stephens of U.S. reacts during the singles final against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina.

An energetic Stephens made her pay by converting all three of her break points to draw first blood.

The keys for Stephens this week has been her patience, resilience and the relatively slow court speed, something she acknowledged after her win over Kerber.

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