Sloane Stephens grinds down Naomi Osaka to win WTA Finals clash

Sloane Stephens 2018 WTA Finals

Both players fought to their limit in their WTA-Finals debut; however, Stephens, 25 years old, was the victor after two hours and 24 minutes, claiming her second win over Osaka, the 2018 US Open champion, in as many career duels, reports Efe.

The former world No. 1 is to be joined in the last four by either Elina Svitolina or defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, who were to complete White Group play later yesterday.

In the group's second match, German top seed Angelique Kerber suffered a shock 1-6 6-3 6-4 defeat by Kiki Bertens, who confirmed her reputation as a conqueror of leading players.

A pair of easy holds and an another break took her to 5-1, and the 2017 U.S. Open victor sealed the contest on her second match point when an anguished Osaka double-faulted for the fourth time in the match.

Both players exchanged breaks of serve twice in the first set.

Singapore -Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens overcame gallant Kiki Bertens in another marathon match at the WTA Finals, a result which breathes life into Japanese sensation Naomi Osaka's teetering Singapore campaign. Osaka, ranked fourth in the world, cruised in the second set, which brought the crowd to its feet with a series of scintillating rallies at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Pliskova's coach Rennae Stubbs urged her to "stay disciplined" in the next changeover and the Czech heeded the advice to curb her attacking instincts as she ended Kvitova's tournament by holding serve to take the opener in 41 minutes.

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"I think she played really well and I think she deserved to win the match".

"I feel like there is a rhythm that I need to get into that I haven't really been in touch with for the past few weeks", she said.

Bertens qualified just days before the tournament after world number one Simona Halep pulled out due to injury, which bumped up Kerber to top billing.

The three-time major victor appeared to increase her command on proceedings when she broke Bertens at the start of the second set but her 26-year-old opponent hit back to break twice to force a third set. "I tried to regroup as best I could and played just like I was playing before".

"So I think that the fact that you get another chance to learn from your mistakes and apply it in the matches going on is something that's really good".

A pair of easy holds and an another break took her to 5-1, and the 2017 US Open victor sealed the contest on her second match point when an anguished Osaka double-faulted for the fourth time in the match. She once again broke a flustered Kerber to take it into a third set for the first time between the pair.

She said: "Obviously Kerber, I have played some really great matches against her, so looking forward to that".

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