In the battle between reigning Grand Slam champions, Sloane Stephens edged past big-hitting Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (5), 6-1 to claim the Miami Open title on Saturday.
Roland Garros champion Ostapenko of Latvia came into the match without having dropped a set or lost a tiebreak during the entire Miami fortnight, but both streaks came to an end at the hands of US Open winner Stephens.
"This place is pretty special to me," said Florida native Stephens. "I grew up playing tennis here and played all sorts of tournaments here. I have had some amazing experiences here. I just feel fortunate that I was able to do that here in South Florida with all my friends and family watching."
The victory will be even sweeter for Stephens next Monday when she'll make her long-awaited Top 10 debut, landing at world No.9. She also extends her impressive undefeated record in finals to 6-0.
"I knew that I was just going to have to run a lot of balls down," Stephens said of the final. "The way that she plays is she has a very aggressive style, and sometimes you can't outhit her or outrun her. You just kind of have to accept that she's going to hit some really great shots.
"I think that's what I did best today. When she was hitting great shots, I just accepted that some good shots were going to be hit and just didn't harp on it too much," she added.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)
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