Elina Svitolina strikes back to seal BNP Paribas WTA Finals title

Stephens fights back to beat Pliskova in see-saw Singapore semi

Svitolina immediately took control in the third, breaking for a 3-0 lead.

The former US Open champion continued her unbeaten run in Singapore with a 6-3, 6-3 triumph in 101 minutes, her fifth straight-sets victory in a row over Kerber.

From there Stephens found her footing and seventh-seeded Pliskova began to derail. "Not the way I wanted to finish but I worked really hard to get here and I can be really proud of my results", she said. "So I think that's what I'm going to do", she said of the injury.

Kerber plays the unbeaten Stephens in the last round-robin match from Red Group, with the victor joining Bertens in the semi-finals.

Svitolina entered the final trailing Stephens 1-2 in their career head-to-head encounters. And despite gobbling up points on the tour, she was towing a reputation as a Grand Slam underachiever who only won her place in the Singapore draw by default, when WTA No. 1 Simona Halep pulled out of the event at the last minute due to injury.

Svitolina, 24, saved three break points to hold serve and trail 4-2.

"This is a very special moment for me in my career and it will give me plenty of confidence for the season coming ahead, I am really pleased with my performance", Svitolina said as she received the Billie Jean King trophy.

The victory means Svitolina became the eighth player to go undefeated in winning the season-ending title, which features a three-match round-robin format at the outset, and first since Serena Williams in 2013.

A more aggressive Svitolina went for her shots and clawed back into the contest. I just tried to stay in it, and get as many balls back as I could.

Bertens played too risky a brand of tennis, posting 41 winners to 12 for Svitolina, but also making 63 to 36 unforced errors. I knew it was going to be a battle.

In the fourth game, Svitolina had a second break point on the Bertens serve.

However, she appeared bewilderingly short of her best as she was bagelled in the first set, Pliskova taking the first eight games of the match without reply. He is a former WTA Writer of the Year and the author of numerous books, including the classic "The Courts of Babylon" and the New York Times bestseller (with Pete Sampras), "A Champion's Mind".

Saturday's semi-finals will see Bertens take on White Group victor Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, before Stephens faces big-hitting Czech Karolina Pliskova in the night match of a tournament that has seen the four lowest-ranked players advance.



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