TENNIS: Svitolina tops Stephens in WTA Finals

Ukraine's WTA Finals champion Elina Svitolina

American Sloane Stephens had good reason to think she might be the favorite in the championship match of the WTA Finals tournament in Kallang (SGP) against Ukraine’s Elena Svitolina.

After all, Stephens had made the French Open final in 2018 and won the Miami Open, while Svitolina had only reached the Australian Open quarterfinal back in January. Plus, in their two prior meetings on hardcourt surfaces, Stephens had won both times in straight sets.

So much for history. Svitolina swept through the WTA Finals undefeated and won the biggest title of her career with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win over Stephens.

Her impressive runs included round-robin wins over Petra Kvitova (CZE: ranked no. 4), Karolina Pliskova (CZE: 7) and no. 2-ranked Caroline Wozniacki (DEN). She then got past Kiki Bertens (NED) in three close sets to get to the final. Having won, she will finish the season ranked no. 4 in the world, her second-best standing ever (she had been third previously).

Stephens also won her three round-robin matches and finished with a 6-3, 6-3 win over no. 1-seeded Angelique Kerber (GER). She overcame a 6-0 first-set loss to Pliskova to win the last two sets and get to the final.

In the women’s Doubles competition, second-seeded Timea Babos (HUN) and Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) defeated top-seeded Czechs Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 7-5. Summaries:

WTA Finals
Kallang (SGP) ~ 21-28 October 2018
(Full results here)

Women’s Singles: 1. Elina Svitolina (UKR); 2. Sloane Stephens (USA); 3. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) and Kiki Bertens (NED). Semis: Stephens d. Pliskova, 0-6, 6-4, 6-1; Svitolina d. Bertens, 7-5, 6-7, 6-4. Final: Svitolina d. Stephens, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Women’s Doubles: 1. Timea Babos (HUN)/Kristina Mladenovic (FRA); 2. Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova (CZE); 3. Andrea Sestini Hlavackova/Barbara Strycova (CZE) and Ashleigh Barty (AUS)/CoCo Vandewghe (USA). Semis: Krejcikova/ Siniakova d. Sestini Hlavackova/Strycova, 6-3, 6-2; Babos/Mladenovic d. Barty/ Vandewghe, 6-7, 6-3, 10-8. Final: Babos/Mladenovic d. Krejcikova/Siniakova, 6-4, 7-5.