Sloane Stephens vs. Elina Svitolina, Singapore Final Preview

🇸🇬 WTA FINALS, Singapore – Final Preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇺🇦 (6) Elina Svitolina

Sunday’s final in Singapore promises to be a blockbuster encounter as Sloane Stephens takes on Elina Svitolina. Stephens and Svitolina have undoubtedly been the two best players all week, each winning all of their group stage matches plus tough semi-final victories. On paper this is an extremely even match-up, both have very similar strengths and weaknesses and have both been playing great tennis this week. Who will raise their level when it matters most to claim a maiden WTA Finals crown?

Sloane Stephens’ route to the Final:

RR1: Naomi Osaka 7-5 4-6 6-1
RR2: Kiki Bertens 7-6 2-6 6-3
RR3: Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-3
SF: Karolina Pliskova 0-6 6-4 6-1

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her semifinal match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens made a miraculous recovery to book her spot in the Singapore final. Stephens trailed Karolina Pliskova 0-6 0-2 15-40 and was seemingly down and out. Stephens managed to break from 40-15 down as she went on to win 12 of the last 15 games. Once Stephens got going her athleticism was too much for Pliskova to handle, this has been the case for each of Sloane’s opponents this week. If anyone can match Sloane’s athleticism it is a red-hot Svitolina…

Elina Svitolina’s route to the Final:

RR1: Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-3
RR2: Karolina Pliskova 6-3 2-6 6-3
RR3: Caroline Wozniacki 5-7 7-5 6-3
SF: Kiki Bertens 7-5 6-7 6-4

Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine in action during her semifinal at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Elina Svitolina has produced the best tennis we have seen from her since the first half of the year where she won 3 titles. Svitolina has overcome several tough situations to reach the biggest final of her career. Svitolina’s greatest test came at the semi-final stage where she battled past Kiki Bertens in 3 extremely tight sets. The standout feature of Svitolina’s week has been her outstanding attitude and toughness in the critical moments, it has been Svitolina at her very best.

Sloane Stephens has the slight edge in the H2H between the pair, leading 2-1. Stephens has won both of the previous matches between the two on a hard court, including a 6-3 6-3 victory at the semi-final stage in Montreal earlier this year.

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Sloane Stephens vs. Karolina Pliskova, Singapore SF Preview

🇸🇬 WTA Finals, Singapore SF #2 Preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova

Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova will go head-to-head in the second semi-final of the day in Singapore. This match-up features a big contrast in styles, the great versatility and athleticism of Stephens against the rangy power of Pliskova. Stephens has been extremely impressive on throughout the week, winning all 3 of her matches on route to the semi-finals, as a result Stephens enters this match as the favourite and should be a very tough opponent for Pliskova.

Karolina Pliskova’s route to the semi-finals:

(W) vs. Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4
(L) vs. Elina Svitolina 6-3 2-6 6-3
(W) vs. Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-4

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic celebrates wining her second match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Karolina Pliskova is through to the semi-finals in Singapore for the second year in a row in her third consecutive appearance at the event. Pliskova started her Singapore campaign in style with a commanding straight set win over Caroline Wozniacki. Pliskova put herself in a tough position with a 3 set loss to Elina Svitolina but rebounded strongly to claim her first ever win over Petra Kvitova and confirm a spot in the final 4. Interestingly Pliskova stated that she was feeling fatigued after her loss to Svitolina, Kvitova provided little resistance so it is hard to know how much to read into that win and whether or not fatigue is still an issue for Pliskova after a long month. Pliskova has been playing sensible tennis this week, playing much more conservatively than she has in the past.

Sloane Stephens’ route to the semi-finals:

(W) vs. Naomi Osaka 7-5 4-6 6-1
(W) vs. Kiki Bertens 7-6 2-6 6-3
(W) vs. Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-3

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her third match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens entered Singapore in poor form having struggled to win matches during the Asian swing. Nevertheless, Stephens has flicked the switch as is often the case for the American at big events. Stephens topped the red group having won all 3 of her matches. Stephens started her WTA Finals debut with tough 3 set wins over Naomi Osaka and Kiki Bertens. Stephens faced Kerber in the last group stage match with the winner set to progress, it was Stephens who far more clutch, winning in straight sets to top the red group. The ability of Stephens to win the big points was key to her win over Kerber, a sign that she is confident right now.

Stephens has the slight edge in the head-to-head record having won 2 of their 3 previous encounters. Stephens won the first two matches between the pair in straight sets, most recently it was Pliskova who won 6-2 6-3 in Madrid earlier this year. Expect a very different result in Singapore.

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Angelique Kerber vs. Sloane Stephens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red group match preview
🇩🇪 (1) Angelique Kerber vs. 🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens

The final red group match in Singapore sees the top seeded Angelique Kerber take on the a red-hot Sloane Stephens in what will be one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament thus far. Stephens tops the group heading into this match having won her first few matches whilst Kerber has 1 win and 1 loss to her name this week. Stephens has had the better of this match-up of late and will be confident in claiming a 5th consecutive win over the German.

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her second match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Angelique Kerber made a disappointing start to the tournament where she lost from a set and 2-0 up against Kiki Bertens. Kerber responded in a typically gutsy fashion with a fighting 3 set win over Naomi Osaka. Kerber was seemingly struggling with a back injury throughout the later stages of her win with Osaka but she was able to dig deep and tough out a win. Kerber’s ability to absorb the pace of Osaka was key and she also played aggressive tennis more often than she usually would. It will be interesting to see how Kerber responds against Stephens.

Sloane Stephens enters this match full of confidence having won her first couple of matches in the red group. Stephens required 3 lengthy sets to claim victories over Naomi Osaka and Kiki Bertens to almost guarantee her place in the semi-finals in her WTA Finals debut. The attitude of Stephens throughout her first few matches has been most impressive, it is clear that Stephens means business this week and when that is the case she is one of the toughest players on tour to defeat.

Stephens holds a commanding 4-1 head-to-head record over Kerber. It was Kerber who won the first meeting between the pair in 2012, since then Stephens has won 4 consecutive matches, all in straight sets. The most recent match between the pair was at the quarter-final stage in Miami earlier this year, Stephens won very comfortably 6-1 6-2.

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Sloane Stephens vs. Kiki Bertens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇳🇱 (8) Kiki Bertens

Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens both made impressive winning starts in their Singapore debuts. As a result Stephens and Bertens now have a chance to almost certainly book a place in the semi-finals with a victory here. Adding to the intrigue is that this will be the first time Stephens and Bertens have gone head-to-head for over 5 years and will be just their second career meeting.

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her first match at the 2018 WTA Finals tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens arrived in Singapore arguably in the worst form of all 8 of the participants. Nevertheless, Sloane has shown that she almost always drastically improves her level for big events and that was the case in her WTA Finals debut. Stephens took down reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka 7-5 4-6 6-1. Stephens successfully frustrated Osaka with her mix of attack and defense, Stephens broke the Osaka serve on 7 occasions from a whopping 19 break points chances. The reasonably slow conditions in Singapore seemingly suit the game of Stephens very nicely.

Kiki Bertens made another huge statement in her first ever match at the WTA Finals. Bertens came from a set and a break down to defeat Angelique Kerber 1-6 6-3 6-4. Bertens has now won 11 matches against top 10 opponents since Madrid this year. Bertens has made a habit of winning ugly, that was certainly the case here in what was a fairly messy deciding set with breaks of serve galore. Bertens served 12 double faults and had a first serve percentage of just 53% yet still managed to beat one of the best returners of serve on tour. Bertens will probably need to step it up if she is to claim her first ever win over Sloane Stephens.

It was Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair. A 4-6 6-3 6-2 win way back in 2013 in Rome. Much has changed since then, but another close match is to be expected.

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Naomi Osaka vs. Sloane Stephens, Singapore RR Preview

WTA Finals Singapore, Red Group match preview
🇯🇵 (3) Naomi Osaka vs. 🇺🇸 (5) Sloane Stephens

Reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka will take on 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first match of the red group at the WTA finals Singapore on Monday. This will be just the second career meeting between two the tours brightest young stars, their only previous match took place at the quarter final stage in Acapulco in 2016, 2 and a half years later they meet in Singapore in very different circumstances. Who will win the battle of the US Open champions?

Naomi Osaka of Japan in action during her third-round match at the 2018 China Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka has been the best player in the world over the last couple of months, as a result it is Osaka who is considered by many to be the favourite heading into her maiden appearance at the WTA Finals. Osaka arrives in Singapore having won 14 of her last 16 matches which of course included her stunning triumph in New York followed by a finalist showing in Tokyo and a run to the semi-finals in Beijing.

Unlike Osaka, Stephens has not been playing very well of late. Stephens won just 2 of her last 6 matches and was part of a mad scramble for a position in Singapore that saw her play in Moscow last week. By the time Stephens took to court in Moscow her place in Singapore was guaranteed, Stephens suffered a first round loss to Ons Jabeur and was seemingly already planning her trip to Singapore. Like Osaka, this will be Sloane’s first appearance at the WTA Finals.

It was Sloane Stephens who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-3 7-5 victory in Acapulco in 2016. This is a fascinating match-up between two of the most dynamic players on tour, two players that should be inside the top 10 for years to come. Indeed this has potential to be a rivalry we will see a lot of in the future, who will gain the upper hand in Singapore?

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Sloane Stephens vs. Anastasija Sevastova, US OPEN QF Preview

🇺🇸🗽 US OPEN: QF Preview
🇺🇸 (3) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇱🇻 (19) Anastasija Sevastova

Sloane Stephens and Anastasija Sevastova will go head-to-head for a spot in the US Open semi-finals. This is a rematch of last year’s epic quarter-final match that ended in a final set tiebreak, Stephens won that match on route to winning the title. Sevastova will be keen for revenge on Tuesday but it won’t be easy to come by given Stephens is arguably the top player left in the draw. Is this where Sloane’s title defense ends?

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her fourth-round match at the 2018 US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens now looks a legitimate chance to successfully defend her title at Flushing Meadows. Sloane has been extremely impressive on route to the quarter-final stage. Sloane made a scratchy start to the tournament, beating Evgeniya Rodina in 2 sets and surviving a real scare in a 3 set win over
Anhelina Kalinina. Stephens has really raised her level in the last couple of matches with a 6-3 6-4 win over Victoria Azarenka and 6-3 6-3 win over Elise Mertens. The level Sloane has produced in the last couple of matches Is the type of tennis that saw her win the title 12 months ago.

Anastasija Sevastova is through to the quarter-finals in New York for the third year in a row, an outstanding achievement given Sevastova has not reached the final 8 at any other Grand Slam event. Sevastova has had several topsy-turvy victories on route to the final 8. Sevastova started her campaign with a 3 set win over Donna Vekic, a straight set win over Claire Liu and a 3 set win over Ekaterina Makarova. Sevastova’s most impressive performance came at the fourth round stage, a 6-3 1-6 6-0 win over Elina Svitolina, the Latvian’s best tennis in that match was outstanding, touch and precision that few could replicate.

Stephens holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Sevastova. All 3 of their previous meetings were in the last 12 months, starting with Sloane’s epic 6-3 3-6 7-6 victory at the quarter-final stage of the US Open last year. Sevastova beat Stephens in straight sets a few months later in Zhuhai. Their most recent match was in Montreal last month, Stephens won 6-2 6-2.

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Simona Halep vs. Sloane Stephens, Montreal Final Preview

🇨🇦🏆 Rogers Cup, Montreal. Final Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇸 (3) Sloane Stephens

Sunday’s championships match in Montreal will be a heavyweight battle between arguably the 2 best players in the world as world number 1 and former champion Simona Halep takes on reigning U.S Open champion Sloane Stephens. It is Halep who has had the better of this match-up, the Romanian has won the last 5 meetings between the two including a notable victory in the Roland Garros final earlier this year. Stephens is playing great tennis this week, can she finally get the better of Halep?

Simona Halep of Romania playing doubles at the 2018 Coupe Rogers WTA Premier 5 tennis tournament

Simona Halep may have made a slow start to the tournament but she enters Sunday’s final in excellent form. Halep required over 3 hours to get the better of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (7-6 4-6 7-5) in the opening round. Halep has been on a roll since that tough opening round match, defeating Venus Williams (6-2 6-2), Caroline Garcia (7-5 6-1) and Ashleigh Barty (6-4 6-1) in straight sets. The level of tennis Halep produced in her wins over Garcia and Barty was particularly impressive, tennis worthy of a world number 1.

Sloane Stephens has been all business right from the offset in Montreal. The American has reached the final without dropping a set, victories over Francoise Abanda (6-0 6-2), Carla Suarez Navarro (6-2 7-5), Anastasija Sevastova (6-2 6-2) and Elina Svitolina (6-3 6-3). Stephens saved her best tennis for an extremely impressive semi-final win over Elina Svitolina, Sloane’s forehand was dominant from start to finish as she hit the defending champion off the court. More of the same is required for Sloane to have a chance on Sunday in what has been a troublesome match-up for her.

Halep holds a dominant 6-2 H2H record over Stephens. Halep has won the last 5 meetings between the pair, 4 of those 5 matches were straight set victories. The most recent match between the pair took place in the Roland Garros final earlier this year, a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory for Halep.

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Simona Halep vs. Sloane Stephens, Roland Garros Final Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, 🏆 Final Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs. 🇺🇸 (10) Sloane Stephens

Take four! A fourth Grand Slam final for Simona Halep, a fourth chance to break her Grand Slam duck. The world number 1 will come up against reigning U.S Open champion Sloane Stephens in Saturday’s Roland Garros championship match. Whilst it is Halep who is the more established player it is Stephens who is the Grand Slam champion, will Stephen’s come from nowhere to win another Grand Slam title or will Halep finally capture that elusive maiden Grand Slam title?

Simona Halep of Romania.in action during the semi-final of the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Simona Halep is into a third Roland Garros final. Halep’s Paris campaign ended in misery this time last year when she was beaten by Jelena Ostapenko from a set and 3-0 up. 12 months later Halep has the chance to make amends and looks well positioned to do so after a superb 6-1 6-4 victory over Garbine Muguruza in Thursday’s semi-final. Halep’s win over the Spaniard was her best performance of the tournament, one of her best performances of the entire year. It has been a tough route to the final for Halep, the world number 1 started the event with a 3 set win over Alison Riske before claiming straight set wins over Taylor Townsend, Andrea Petkovic and Elise Mertens, at the quarter-final stage Halep came from a set down to defeat Angelique Kerber.

Sloane Stephens now has the opportunity to win a second Grand Slam title within the last 12 months, an incredible achievement given she was side-lined with a serious injury at this time last year. Stephens has looked rock-solid throughout the fortnight. The American’s only challenge came at the third round where she came from a set down to beat Camila Giorgi 8-6 in the third after she cruised through her first few matches over Arantxa Rus and Magdalena Frech. Stephens’ level has certainly increased during the second week as she claimed 3 dominant wins to reach the final in Paris, 6-2 6-0 over Anett Kontaveit, 6-3 6-1 over Daria Kasatkina and finally a 6-4 6-4 semi-final win over Madison Keys.

It is Halep who has had Sloane’s measure in recent times. Halep has won the last 4 matches between the pair and holds an overall 5-2 head-to-head record over the American. Interestingly all 7 of the previous matches between these two have ended in straight sets. The pair met on two occasions in 2017, a 7-6 6-0 win for Halep in Washington followed by a 6-2 6-1 demolition at the Rogers Cup in their most recent encounter.

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Sloane Stephens vs. Madison Keys, Roland Garros SF Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, SF Preview
🇺🇸 (10) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇺🇸 (13) Madison Keys

Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys will renew hostilities when they meet in Thursday’s second semi-final in Paris. The pair famously last met in last year’s U.S Open final, an unexpected match-up that ended in a comfortable victory for Stephens. Indeed, Stephens has won both of their previous matches, both in straight sets, can Keys finally put her game together against Stephens?

Madison Keys of the United States in action during her quarter-final match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens has generally been untroubled on route to the final 4 in Paris. Stephens started the event with comfortable straight set wins over Arantxa Rus and Magdalena Frech. It was in the third round where Stephens faced her greatest test, a 4-6 6-1 8-6 win over Camila Giorgi. Stephens was on the verge of defeat on several occasions against Giorgi as the Italian twice served for the match in the third set. Stephens has seemingly benefited from her tight win over Giorgi having cruised through her next two matches, a 6-2 6-0 victory over Anett Kontaveit and 6-3 6-1 over Daria Kasatkina book her spot in the semi-finals in Paris for the first time.

Madison Keys will also be competing in the semi-finals in Paris for the first time. Keys is yet to drop a set on route to the final 4, navigating her way through the first week with wins over Sachia Vickery, Caroline Dolehide and Naomi Osaka. Keys battled past a couple of tricky opponents to secure a semi-final showdown with Stephens, a 6-1 6-4 win over Mihaela Buzarnescu and a 7-6 6-4 win over Yulia Putintseva, two mature victories for Keys against opponents with awkward playing styles.

As mentioned above it is Stephens who holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Keys. Stephens thrashed Keys in last year’s U.S Open final, a 6-3 6-0 victory in what was a pretty noncompetitive match. Stephens also beat Keys 6-4 6-2 in Miami in 2015.

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Sloane Stephens vs. Daria Kasatkina, Roland Garros QF Preview

🇫🇷 Roland Garros, QF Preview
🇺🇸 (10) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇷🇺 (14) Daria Kasatkina

Sloane Stephens and Daria Kasatkina will renew hostilities when they meet at the quarter-final stage at Roland Garros on Tuesday. Stephens and Kasatkina have both reached career highs in recent times, both head into this match full of confidence as they aim to reach a maiden semi-final in Paris. This looks like a fairly even match-up on paper, expect to see a lot of entertaining rallies between these two, who will step up and reach the semi-finals?

Sloane Stephens of the United States in action during her third-round match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Sloane Stephens has cruised into the quarter-finals in Paris, untroubled in all but 1 of her four matches so far at Roland Garros. The reigning U.S Open champion started the event with easy straight set wins over Arantxa Rus and Magdalena Frech before surviving a huge scare to defeat Camila Giorgi 4-6 6-1 8-6. Giorgi twice served for the match in the third set but Stephens maintained her focus and composure and was ultimately too strong for the Italian. Sloane produced a near-flawless performance to defeat Anett Kontaveit 6-2 6-0 and book her spot in the quarter-finals in Paris to ensure she has now reached the final 8 at each Grand Slam, Sloane certainly saves her best tennis for the bigger events.

Daria Kasatkina is into her first Grand Slam quarter-final as she continues to climb up the rankings. Kasatkina also started the week with a couple of straight set wins, beating Kaia Kanepi and Kirsten Flipkens pretty comfortably. It was at the third round stage where Kasatkina dropped her only set on route to the final 8 in a hard-fought 6-1 1-6 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari. The Russian secured her spot in the quarter-finals with an impressive 7-6 6-3 victory over the 2nd seeded Caroline Wozniacki. The match was postponed with the score tied at 3-3 in the second set, on resumption the next day Kasatkina played great tennis to win 3 straight games.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Stephens beat Kasatkina in a long 3 set match on clay in Charleston back in 2016 whilst more recently Kasatkina defeated Stephens 6-4 6-3 at Indian Wells earlier this year.

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