Sloane Stephens rallies past Karolina Pliskova, reaches title match at WTA Finals

Kiki Bertens BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global WTA Finals Simona Halep Karolina Pliskova Garbiñe Muguruza Elina Svitolina Caroline Wozniacki Venus Williams Jelena Ostapenko Caroline Garcia

Kiki Bertens BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global WTA Finals Simona Halep Karolina Pliskova Garbiñe Muguruza Elina Svitolina Caroline Wozniacki Venus Williams Jelena Ostapenko Caroline Garcia

"I think I have nothing to prove anymore to anyone and it's definitely a good statement for myself", Svitolina said. "So I think that's what I'm going to do", she said of the injury.

"I was told I shouldn't really do much". That was then. On Thursday, Svitolina clinched her semifinal berth with a win against Wozniacki.

Before they met in the final, Stephens expressed sympathy for Svitolina.

Pliskova was only a point away from a 3-0 lead in the second set.

In truth, Stephens wasn't really tested against Kerber and got through the match playing in second or third gear.

Her aggressive style in the eight-player season finale was the backbone of her success, as she become the first athlete to go through the WTA Finals undefeated since Serena Williams in 2013.

American Stephens stayed calm and saw off an increasingly agitated Angelique Kerber in the winner-takes-all night match to complete round-robin play with a spotless 3-0 record after she wrapped up a 6-3 6-3 victory against the German.

Svitolina broke in the fourth game but couldn't consolidate as Bertens lifted her intensity, crunching powerful forehands to dictate the rallies. I was just trying to get the ball back. "It's the last match of the season, definitely now, and I'm going to give my best and leave everything on court".

The No. 6-seeded Svitolina captured the title in only her second appearance at the year-end finals, past year losing in the round robin portion of the championships in her debut.

A pep talk from coach Raemon Sluiter seemed to help Bertens iron out her unforced errors but the world number nine collapsed completely with the second set at her mercy, failing to convert four opportunities to level the match.

Next up for Svitolina will be the victor of the other semifinal match between Sloane Stephens of the United States and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

Japanese sensation Naomi Osaka's WTA Finals debut ended in tears on Friday as she was forced to retire against Kiki Bertens, handing the Dutchwoman a surprise spot in the semi-finals.

Svitolina has failed to go beyond the quarter-finals of a grand slam, but showed she can handle the pressure of the big stage in what was the last edition of the tournament to be staged in Singapore.

Svitolina will meet the victor of Saturday night's late semi-final between Sloane Stephens and Karolina Pliskova, in search of the biggest title of her career on Sunday.

Prior to this, the representatives of Ukraine have never reached the finals of the prestigious tournament, not to mention victory.

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