The Baseline Player of the Week: Elina Svitolina

Tyler Owen
October 31, 2018

It is the first time the world No. 7 has beaten No. 6 Stephens on a hard court.

A year ago, Svitolina qualified for her first WTA Finals thanks to five tournament wins in the season, but after she crashed out in the group stage, she knew work was needed to express herself better on court against the very best players.

"There was lots of talk about my second part of the season and my performance lately, so this really motivated me", she added.

"It's been a great week", said Stephens. "I think I have nothing to prove anymore to anyone", she told the media after the final.

"Unfortunately, this is the a year ago that Singapore is hosting this fantastic tournament". "I want to finish strong. It's very, very special for everyone".

Svitolina immediately took control in the third, breaking for a 3-0 lead. The Ukrainian had two opportunities to break Stephens' serve in the next game, but the latter saved the first break point with a forehand victor down the line and the second with a backhand cross-court victor. Svitolina received a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours and 23 minutes in the championship match of the WTA Finals. Unfortunately though, she gave the break back the following game.

In the afternoon match, Bertens advanced to the semi-finals after Naomi Osaka retired with a left hamstring injury at the end of a first set the versatile Dutchwoman had captured by a 6-3 margin.

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The 26-year-old recovered in a tense tiebreak to force a decider and the twists continued in a pulsating third set.

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

"I had a bit of an adrenaline dump after I finally won one game - I was really fired up, so I was like 'Okay, come on, let's do this". Her opponent will be known later.

There was no looking back for Svitolina, who defended solidly and attacked when she could.

Svitolina had arrived in Singapore woefully out of form, but the baseliner gathered momentum as the tournament progressed, winning all three pool matches and semi-final before subduing a fast-starting Stephens.

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.

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