The Baseline Player of the Week: Elina Svitolina

Sloane Stephens 2018 WTA Finals

Kerber was immediately under pressure in the second set and saved seven break points in the fourth game before cracking under the pressure.

Last year Svitolina became the first Ukrainian woman to play singles at the WTA Finals. However, she was more upbeat at the post-match conference, saying, "I really hope that I could have done better, but I think this year has been very eventful, so I should just be grateful for that and I guess just try my best for next year".

"There were nerves but I was trying to fight for every ball and I think that made the difference in the end".

The world No7 broke early in the final set with help from more Bertens errors and rallied with great determination to confirm her place in the final after two hours and 37 minutes.

Svitolina, the sixth seed, managed to seize on five out of eight break points she faced, and although the Dutch player created nine break points, she was able to convert only three of them.

Svitolina has been in brilliant, aggressive form in Singapore, beating defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, Czech players Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova at the group stage, and Kiki Bertens in the semi-finals.

After Stephens had lost the first eight games, the American said she was thinking "I made it all the way to the semifinal, and I'm going to lose?".

Elina Svitolina says she has "nothing to prove anymore" after she secured the biggest title of her career on Sunday to win the season-ending WTA Finals trophy to "silence the haters".

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"I have done qualifying for my first final here, beat some unbelievable players, played four really great matches. I will take it and I will take my rest, and I have some more recovery time for tomorrow", Bertens added.

Svitolina entered the final trailing Stephens 1-2 in their career head-to-head encounters. "Obviously, it's not the way I wanted to finish, but I worked really hard to get here and I can be really proud of my result today". She has won one title at Miami this season.

Sloane Stephens of U.S. reacts during the singles final against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina.

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. It's been wonderful to play against her here and, of course, I want to thank the crowd.

"To be at the last four, last tournament of the year, it´s unbelievable".

Stephens' blistering forehand dictated, as she ran away with the first set.

With her upper leg heavily strapped, Osaka called a medical timeout after the eighth game and required treatment in the locker room.

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