By Ros Satar, in Singapore

  • Sloane Stephens [5] v Karolina Pliskova [7]
  • H2H: Stephens leads 2-1
SINGAPORE – Sloane Stephens comes into her debut WTA Finals 3-0 in the round-robins but faces last year’s semi-finalist Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the final.

 

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Sloane Stephens [5] v Karolina Pliskova [7] | H2H: Stephens leads 2-1

Sloane Stephens in the first round robing match of the WTA Finals Singapore, 2018

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

There really seems to be nothing Sloane Stephens cannot do. She came back from months in a foot-boot to win the US Open. She answered her critics of a poor run of form after that by making, and almost winning the French Open this year as well as winning Miami.

READ MORE | Tennis | WTA Finals 2018 | Sloane Stephens: ‘We came here to kick ass’ as no top seeds make it through to semi-finals

Tennis | WTA Finals 2018 | Sloane Stephens: ‘We came here to kick ass’ as no top seeds make it through to semi-finals

Earlier this week Billie-Jean King believed that when Sloane is switched on and really here to play, she is unstoppable. In her final round-robin match she did to Angelique Kerber what the German has been known to do to others, running everything down and generally frustrating Kerber, for another straight sets win over her.

Karolina Pliskova in the third round robin match of the WTA Finals 2018, Singapore

Karolina Pliskova in the third round robin match of the WTA Finals 2018, Singapore | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

She will face Karolina Pliskova, who scraped into the line-up by virtue of Kiki Bertens stumbling (initially) in the first round of Moscow, as had Pliskova. This was aided and abetted by Simona Halep withdrawing, and from that moment Pliskova seemed to play with a bit of freedom.

Pliskova first dealt a blow to defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, and although she lost to the other in-form player in the group, Elina Svitolina, she was pumped to get a victory (her first) over Czech No. 1 Petra Kvitova.

READ MORE | WTA Finals 2018 | Karolina Pliskova downs Petra Kvitova to book first semi-final spot

WTA Finals 2018 | Karolina Pliskova downs Petra Kvitova to book first semi-final spot

Their match-ups have been anything but close – all two setters and fairly comfortable for the winner. Stephens has had the edge over the Czech on grass and hard, but the last win went to Pliskova in Madrid this year.

It will be a match of contrasting styles. The big-serving Czech is looking to make it 50 wins this year (and for the third time in her career) and is just seven aces short of 400 – which she has hit the last four seasons.

The edge here surely has to go to Stephens – in terms of movement and agility around the court. While Pliskova has the heavier serve and solid groundstrokes, Stephens fluidity around the court could suggest why her wins have looked comfortable. That being said, Pliskova is learning on which balls to come in at and thanks to her own doubles prowess is actually good at the net.

However, with Fed Cup still to come for her, and just in the kind of form Stephens has shown through this week, it is hard to see past the American for a final berth.

Prediction: Stephens in straight sets.

 

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