Elina Svitolina will be up against Sloane Stephens in the final of the 2018 WTA Finals. The match will be played on Sunday in Singapore.
Stephens was all but headed out of the tournament, when, in the semi-final against Karolina Pliskova, she was 6-0, 2-0 down and staring at the wrong end of the barrel.
The American, 2017 US Open winner came back strongly to level it at 2-2 before breaking Pliskova for the second time to lead 3-2 but was broken back. Thereafter it was Stephens all the way, winning a break back and then converting it into the set.
In the final set, there was no respite for her Czech opponent as Stephens ran through the set and match, winning it 6-1.
Earlier in the tournament, Stephens was unbeaten too, winning all three group matches against Naomi Osaka, Kiki Bertens and Angelique Kerber to make it to the semis.
It has been a turnaround of sorts for Svitolina who had a poor time coming into this year-ending competition. She lost in round four at the 2018 US Open and while there was a change of coaches, she did not have a great time in the tournaments following from there on.
First, she went down to Aryna Sabalenka in Wuhan before falling to a defeat in Beijing to Aleksandra Krunic. Both times, early in the tournament, and that would have sent the alarm bells ringing.
There was some improvement in her performance at the Hong Kong Open where she entered the quarter-finals but not too many gave her too much of a chance to make it to the knock-out stage of this tournament, let alone win four matches in a row to enter the title-decider.
And now just enter the final, but also to do so as a heavy favourite to win it too.
She has already beaten the Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki in three sets, then overcame Karolina Pliskova before sending Petra Kvitova packing 6-3, 6-3.
In the semi-finals, Svitolina was tested and stretched to the limits by Kiki Bertens. She managed to win 7-5, 6-7, 6-4 which, might have tired out a bit but would have also kept her in a good stead going into the final – always good to be tested, to be battle-hardened and come through in the way she did in the end.
The Elina Svitolina v Sloane Stephens live streaming can also be watched by subscribing to WTA TV.