Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Svitolina fights past Bertens to secure first WTA final

Kiki Bertens BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global WTA Finals Simona Halep Karolina Pliskova Garbiñe Muguruza Elina Svitolina Caroline Wozniacki Venus Williams Jelena Ostapenko Caroline Garcia Naomi Osaka's incredible breakthrough season ends in tears
| 31 October, 2018, 12:45

I thought she played well and it was obviously a tough match from the beginning. "It means a lot to me", Svitolina said after the victory, as quoted on the WTA's website.

The Ukrainian will end the year fourth in the rankings, having made it five wins out of five by fighting back to defeat the 2017 US Open champion 3-6 6-2 6-2. That's why my poor results were a little bit disappointing and I was trying to stay positive, because I was giving everything on the practice court and results were not what I expected.

She told BT Sport afterwards: "It's fantastic".

"I think for me it's just that the third set really showed that I was mentally tough". I know that when I am fresh and fully motivated it is better than when I start again a week or two earlier.

So said. So done.

But then the fightback started as Stephens reeled off the next three games before Pliskova broke back to level at 3-3.

Svitolina's form nosedived in the second half of the year and after sneaking into the eight-woman field courtesy of three early-season titles, the world number seven sensed her presence had been regarded as undeserved in some quarters.

However, the Czech's next bout of generosity proved fatal.

A stunned Stephens lost the opening eight games before turning things around to win 12 of the next 15. But from 1-1 it was the Stephens steamroller.


Svitolina was unable to consolidate the break in a marathon 13-minute second game but hit back immediately against Bertens' erratic serve, becoming the first ever Ukrainian to qualify for the decider.

"The crowd was wonderful", Stephens added.

"I was thinking I'm going to lose zero and zero".

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.

The pair have met three times with Stepens victorious in two of the encounters.

We will remind, in the third match at the tournament, Svitolina defeated Caroline Wozniacki.

"It's been a great week", said Stephens. I'm very sad, but I just want to thank all the fans and the sponsors for making this event wonderful.

"After the US Open previous year, everyone was, like, 'Oh, she's a one-hit wonder, she'll never do anything again, it was just lucky, no one was playing, blah, blah, blah, '...this season I was like 'I really want to play a little more consistent, I want to have some better results in the bigger tournaments and just do better to show that I'm a Top 10 or top-whatever player".

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