Sloane Stephens Breaks Out of Her Slump With a Win in Miami
02 April, 2018, 03:29 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
And this would be only the eighth time since that same year, 1998, that the final did not feature at least one of those sisters.
The American had won just three contests since winning her maiden Grand Slam crown, with many fearing the 25-year-old's success may only be a flash in the pan.
Both had overcome tough draws, including Major champions, with their own exciting brands of attacking, full-blooded tennis.
"She was moving really well", Ostapenko said.
There was, too, little to choose between after 10 days at Crandon Park. But there is a move to be made, and Stephens's game can translate well to clay. It worked for the next two points, both winners. The first four games summed up the nerves: four breaks.
Ostapenko is now ranked fifth.
The game started with eight breaks of serve in the first set before the home favourite prevailed in the tie-break., the world number 12 relied heavily on her defence before putting her foot on the gas in the second set.
Ostapenko hit 25 winners. The Stadium Arena rose to applaud their player: Would that bring a decisive swing?
Still this seesawing match strewn with errors was not done.
Ostapenko saved four set points but couldn't halt Stephens as the Latvian lost her first tiebreak - and first set - of the tournament when Stephens' return pulled Ostapenko wide to the backhand and the Latvian netted.
American Stephens claimed her first title since the US Open a year ago with a 7-6 (7/5) 6-1 win over her Latvian opponent. That's Ostapenko's favorite shot, but Stephens forced her to play it from well above her shoulder, rather than in her strike zone. "When she was hitting great shots, I just accepted that some good shots were going to be hit and just didn't harp on it too much".
The younger woman, though, was not about to back off. After Stephens' strong forehand victor to go up 6-2, Ostapenko nearly pulled even before faltering in the 57-minute first set. However, she immediately handed the break back to Stevens, who held to take a 2-1 lead.
The Latvian's serve continued to let her down, draining any confidence she may have left, and the forehand collapsed. And while she was broken five times today, Stephens' serve still has enough pop to be a weapon. She will make her top ten debut on Monday. All matches from the tournament will be available on-demand. I think that it took a really long time to get there, just to get to that 10, because I was at 11, and I'm so exhausted of them saying career-high ranking no. 11.
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