Svitolina hopeful of major progress after making Singapore strides

Japan's Naomi Osaka was forced to retire from the WTA Finals with a left hamstring injury

Japan's Naomi Osaka was forced to retire from the WTA Finals with a left hamstring injury

"I came out here a little bit nervous, and I wasn't really feeling the ball", Stephens said after the match on court.

I thought she played well and it was obviously a tough match from the beginning.

Yet Stubbs' words failed to have the desired impact and a double fault handed Stephens a commanding 4-1 lead.

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. "I'm very proud of this".

"I'm going to trust my game, going to trust myself".

"I was told I shouldn't really do much".

"Then I lost that second game in the third set where I was just struggling a little bit but bounced back straightaway".

And then I reminded her about the first matches we had together, where the opponent wasn't ranked this high, or had as big of a name and she was laughing about it and had a small smirk across her face.

Fifth seed Sloane Stephens hailed an adrenalin rush as the source of her staggering comeback against Karolina Pliskova during the semi-final of the WTA finals in Singapore on Saturday.

The second set began with the fact that the Dutch won two games in a row.




"There is this level of pain that I can play with, so I definitely was going to play", she said.

Svitolina became the eighth player to go undefeated in winning the season-ending title, which features a three-match round-robin format at the outset, and first since Serena Williams in 2013.

Stephens, the 2017 US Open victor, beat Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-3 to secure her place in the last four at the Kallang Tennis Centre.

Her defensive prowess wore down Bertens, who blasted 41 winners but made 63 unforced errors.

"There's still lots of work ahead", said sixth-seeded Svitolina.

"I have to really think - I don't want to take, like, just a person and then, you know, split in two weeks".

Bertens started the year ranked No. 31, climbing her way up to No. 9 the hard way - with quality wins against elite players, including a string of 10 consecutive victories versus top-10 players.

It ended a fairy tale run for Bertens, who only qualified days before the tournament when world number one Simona Halep withdrew from injury.

In the fourth game, Svitolina had a second break point on the Bertens serve. The Ukrainian had two opportunities to break Stephens' serve in the next game, but the latter saved the first break point with a forehand victor down the line and the second with a backhand cross-court victor.

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