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How Sloane Stephens' subtle athleticism brought her another big title

02 April, 2018, 11:20 | Author: Christina Hansen
  • Miami Open 2018: Sloane Stephens shines again in the US to earn place in top 10

After a tense first set, the U.S. Open champion reeled off six consecutive games in the second to beat the French Open victor and claim her first Miami title after a slow start to the season.

Sloane Stephens emphatically ended her miserable post-US Open run by lifting the second-biggest title of her career to date in Miami, as she defeated Jelena Ostapenko in the final.

South Florida native Stephens' triumph represented the invariably-linked connection between the history and prestige of 30 years of top-tier tennis on Key Biscayne and the contributions Florida as a global tennis hotbed has made to the sport.

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Victories over Garbine Muguruza, Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka preceded her 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 win over French Open champion Ostapenko and Stephens was delighted to end what had been an otherwise disappointing start to the season, which had also been disrupted by a knee injury. I don't know why. "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 wins the finals match, going 7-6 (5), 6-1.

"The first time I saw Venus in the locker room I almost cried", Collins said in an on-court interview. In 2017, she won the US Open while recovering from surgery; now she has won Miami after a six-month dry spell where she struggled to win anything at all. "She's been my favourite player for forever and this is just a special moment I'm trying to wrap my head around it".

"I made sure after Australia I got in the best shape possible".

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"Comparing to the other matches I watched her play this week, she was moving really well". Nevertheless, she is now set to enter the world's top 10 for the first time. "Sometimes I was going for an aggressive victor when I didn't have to".

"When David came on the court he was telling me to keep playing aggressive, to go for the shots", Ostapenko said on court. "I was sometimes missing shots I was normally making this week".

In the second set Ostapenko got an early break but it would be her only game as Stephens steamrolled to the title. But she had momentum on her side, and even had a set point against Ostapenko in the first set. "I just needed a little bit of a reminder to just go for it if I wanted to take the title". It seems that she's at her best when she has no expectations of success and is just trying to find her way back to her normal level of play.

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