Sloane Stephens wins Miami Open title by overcoming Jelena Ostapenko

French Open champion Ostapenko made a series of unforced errors

French Open champion Ostapenko made a series of unforced errors

Playing on her virtual home turf, the South Florida-born Stephens pulled off a mild upset in defeating Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (5), 6-1 in Key Biscayne on Saturday afternoon.

Stephens, who has now won all six finals she has competed in, had been determined to win the last tournament at Key Biscayne before it moves next year.

Sloane Stephens of the United States poses with the Butch Buchholz championship trophy after her match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia (not pictured) during the women's singles final of the Miami Open at Tennis Center at Crandon Park.

The victory will be even sweeter for Stephens come Monday as she'll make her long-awaited Top 10 debut, landing at World No.9. 'Obviously I didn't start the year off great so to have a good result here is really important.

There's a fair gap between No. 10 and the top players; for example, she's more than 1,000 points behind No. 8 Venus Williams.

The American, who beat Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka on her way to the final, then raised her game to wrap up victory easily, proving much more solid in set two as Ostapenko remained erratic.

Serving at 5-1, 30-0 in the second set, two points from the title, Stephens ran down a pair of hard-hit ground strokes from her opponent.


There were eight breaks of serve in the first set alone, with French Open champion Ostapenko hitting 29 unforced errors and US Open champion Stephens making just three winners.

The win is huge for Stephens moving forward.

"I'm just starting to finally put all of the pieces together".

"This place is pretty special to me. I knew I was going to really have to work for it and she wasn't going to give it to me", Collins said of the 37-year-old seven-times grand slam champion.

She wobbled again leading 6-2 in the pivotal tiebreaker, committing unforced errors to squander consecutive set points.

Stephens had beaten three former Grand Slam champions- Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka- to make the final against another Grand Slam victor. "I just needed a little bit of a reminder to just go for it if I wanted to take the title".

Ostapenko said she followed coach David Taylor's advice to stay on the attack against the defensive-minded Svitolina even when she was having trouble with her accuracy. "I want to make sure you guys understand how much you help me when I'm out here".

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