By Ros Satar, in Singapore

  • Sloane Stephens [5] def. Angelique Kerber [1] 6-3 6-3
  • Vacation and coach hunting time beckons for Kerber
SINGAPORE – Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber was the last of the top seeds to exit the group stages of the WTA Finals as the end of a decent year.

 

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Sloane Stephens [5] def. Angelique Kerber [1] 6-3 6-3

In the final group match of this year’s WTA Finals, Angelique Kerber continued to search for a win against Sloane Stephens. After beating Stephens in three sets back in Miami 2012, it has been one-way, straight sets traffic or the American and this was no different.

It was always going to be a game of margins, and from the start Kerber looked determined to go for it, being the first to bring up break points on Stephens, twice in a rown but was increasingly frustrated as she saw her first five chances go by the wayside.

Sloane Stephens in the first round-robin match at the WTA Finals 2018, Singapore

Sloane Stephens in the first round-robin match at the WTA Finals 2018, Singapore | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

The let off perhaps spurred Stephens into action as she swiftly took advantage and seemed to have absolutely no trouble converting on her chances, breaking Kerber twice in succession. Kerber did save three set points before breaking Stephens, but succumbed to a third break in a row.

This was a must win set for the German, who was last in the finals here in 2016, but a mammoth game where she saved six break points before surrendering the break to Stephens. Although she pegged her back in the next game, she never looked convincing enough to come right back at the American, as Stephens made it another straight sets win over Kerber.

With the season over, a third Slam title, and in need of a new coach, Kerber summed up her match and season.

“I think it’s tough to play against her. I think that always when I play against her she’s playing her best tennis. Also, today I think she played great. Especially when we had long games she always, yeah, put the balls, yeah, down the lines, and I had no chance to get there.

“I was trying my best. I was trying until the end to do and to coming back, but she really played good from the first until the last point.

“Today I make a little bit more mistakes than usual, especially also in the first set. If you play against the best players here, you have to take your first chances. She was playing good at these defence moments. For me, I was trying it and I just can say that I tried my best today, even I lost, but yeah, I was trying to putting everything I had left in this match.”

After the slump of 2017 where the two-time Slam champion and World No. 1 started the year as World No. 22 and finishes up as the World No. 2.

She continued: I’m proud about myself, about my team that I really fight back, that I came back after, yeah, last year. You know, I will just try to taking all the positives, all which I learned this year as well for the next season, getting ready as good as I can for Australia next year.”

Kerber will reunite with Alexander Zverev to play in the Hopman Cup as her season opener in 2019.

 

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