Elina Svitolina on Sunday had to rally from a set deficit to defeat Sloane Stephens of the US 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and become the first Ukrainian player to win the season-ending Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) finals title.
The win means Svitolina will finish the season in the world No. 4 spot in the WTA rankings, behind Simona Halep of Romania, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Angelique Kerber of Germany. Stephens looked on her way to becoming the eighth US player to win the WTA Finals as she grabbed a one-set advantage on the strength of an early service break, reports Efe news.
Svitolina jumped to a 3-1 lead in the second set, only to concede her own serve in the very next game to narrow the gap to 3-2. However, Svitolina went on to win the next three games to draw level at one set apiece, as she was lent a hand by Stephens who committed an eyebrow-raising 18 unforced errors over eight games.
Svitolina’s momentum continued in the third set as she took a 3-0 lead after overcoming some resistance from Stephens, who eventually won the next two games, making the score 3-2. The Ukrainian player halted Stephens’ comeback as she won three games back-to-back and sealed her second win over Stephens in four career matches.