Svitolina has 'nothing to prove' after Singapore triumph

Osaka retires with injury Bertens reaches WTA semifinals

Ukraine's Elina Svitolina celebrates after winning her WTA Tour Finals semi final match against Netherlands' Kiki Bertens in Singapore, October 27, 2018.

The first Ukrainian to be crowned champion, Svitolina recovered from a hard start to win 3-6 6-2 6-2.

Stephens had to save break points in each of her first two service games before breaking Kerber twice to surge into a 5-2 lead, although the 25-year-old then missed an easy forehand on her first set point.

However, Svitolina responded instantly, taking the first of two break points to re-establish control and holding serve to move to within one game of the title.

The Ukrainian advances to meet either versatile American Sloane Stephens or big-hitting Czech Karolina Pliskova, who were to face off later yesterday, in the final of the season-ending event being played in Singapore for a fifth and final time.

"I hurt my left hamstring in the first match (against Stephens)", Osaka told reporters.

Stephens said she was satisfied with her debut WTA Finals.




The Dutch world No. 9, who was runner-up in last year's doubles competition with Sweden's Johanna Larsson, has 12 victories over players ranked in the top 10 this season, the most by any player since Serena Williams in 2014. "The third set really showed that I was mentally tough". That's why for me it was a little bit disappointing, and I was trying to stay very positive, because I was giving everything on the practice court and results were...not what I expected.

The American will play Plíšková, while Bertens will take on Svitolina, the current world number seven. I knew it was going to be a battle.

Stephens made one final effort to fight back, but Svitolina kept the points long to force her opponent into unforced errors as she sought winners and wrapped up a memorable victory when Stephens skewed a backhand wide. Svitolina just kept the ball in play and rallied from 3-5 down to send the contest into a tiebreaker, which the Dutchwoman edged after rediscovering her poise.

From there Stephens found her footing and seventh-seeded Pliskova began to derail.

Sloane Stephens also advanced to the semifinals, improving to 3-0 by beating Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-3. "Get to the final, last match of the year, just give it your absolute all and just see what happens", the 24-year-old said.

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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