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Sloane Stephens: 'I thought my life was over'

02 April, 2018, 11:18 | Author: Rachael Silva
  • French Open champion Ostapenko made a series of unforced errors

Ostapenko kicked off the second set by breaking Stephens's serve for the fifth time to take a 1-0 lead, but the American used her superior consistency to run the table over the next six games and win her sixth career title and fourth on United States soil.

Ostapenko, who is the reigning French Open Champion 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 in the hands of Stephens.

The triumph will be even sweeter for Stephens today when she makes her long-awaited debut in the top 10 of the world rankings at No. 9. "I have had some unbelievable experiences here, and I'll definitely miss it, but I think - yeah, I just feel fortunate that I was able to do that here in South Florida with all my friends and family watching".

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. Jelena Ostapenko, the extrovert Latvian who wowed Roland Garros just a day after turning 20, was the youngest Miami finalist in nearly a decade and could become the first titlist for her far-off nation.

Ostapenko had a 25-6 advantage in winners but committed 48 unforced errors to 21 by Stephens.

"The first time I saw Venus in the locker room I almost cried", Collins said in an on-court interview.


'When I changed my perspective and I went and worked at Tennis Channel and I was finishing up school, like, I had so many things to look forward to and so many things that I knew in my life that I could accomplish. The tide turned on a key 30-30 point in the seventh game as Stephens desperately sliced again and again to stay in the point, outlasting Ostapenko thanks to one of many returns hit too long by the Latvian.

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

In the span of two weeks, Sloane Stephens definitely enjoyed her familiar surroundings. For her, the months after the French Open title have featured some bumps in the road.

Stephens said she benefited from a pep talk by her coach after the opening set.

Their error-strewn first set began with four consecutive service breaks and went to 6-6 before Stephens pushed ahead 6-2 in the tiebreak. "I really just focused on myself and made sure that I was the best version of me", she sad.

"Half the people I didn't even know", she said. "That's because they appreciate it as much as I do".

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