Saturday, October 27, 2018

Stephens stages huge rally to gain final in elite tourney

   Sloane Stephens overcame a terrible start today to reach the title match in her first WTA Finals.
   Seeded fifth, Stephens downed seventh-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 0-6, 6-4, 6-1 after losing the first eight games in Singapore.
   "I came out here a little bit nervous, and I wasn't really feeling the ball," Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product now based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said on " ... I had a bit of an adrenaline dump after I finally won one game. I was really fired up, so I was like, 'OK, come on, let's do this. I can win one game; maybe I can win two, then three.' And I just started to feel the ball a little bit better. ... I just tried to stay in it and get as many balls back as I could. I'm just really proud of my fight today."
   Stephens, who won last year's U.S. Open and reached the French Open final in June, will meet sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on Sunday not before 4:30 a.m. PDT. Svitolina, 24, outlasted eighth-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-4 in 2 hours, 38 minutes.
   Stephens leads Svitolina 2-1 (2-0 on hardcourts) in their head-to-head series. Stephens won the last meeting 6-3, 6-3 in the Montreal semifinals in August before losing to Simona Halep 6-4 in the third set.
   ATP World Tour in Vienna -- Unseeded Mike Bryan (Stanford, 1997-98) of Wesley Chapel, Fla., and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France edged top-seeded Oliver Marach of Austria and Mate Pavic of Croatia 6-4, 6-7 (2) [10-7] in the semifinals.
   Bryan and Roger-Vasselin, playing in their second tournament together, will meet unseeded Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski of Great Britain for the title on Sunday.
   Salisbury and Skupski ended the winning streak of second-seeded Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil at 10 matches with a 2-6, 6-3 [10-8] triumph on Friday.

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