Elina Svitolina of Ukraine won the 2018 WTA Finals after defeating Sloane Stephens in the final with 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Early in the first set, Svitolina was broken by her American adversary to go down 0-2 in quick succession. In the third game, Stephens fought bravely to save two break points and retain her lead. She repeated the same feat at 4-2 once again when the Ukrainian had two break point opportunities to get back in the game.
Nonetheless, the World No. 6 did a good job to maintain her momentum and eventually take the first set 6-2.
The second set started well for Svitolina. She quickly found her rhythm and took a 3-1 lead after breaking Stephens’ service in the fourth game. However, the two-time Italian Open champion did face some resistance from her opponent in the very next game. Stephens was quick to bounce back as she managed to win a break point and get back in the match with 2-3.
But before the American could build upon that break, she was, once again, broken by Svitolina. It was a game of absolute efficiency with the Ukrainian quickly taking a 4-2 lead. The World No. 7 added to that lead in the very next game after going up 5-2.
In the final game, Stephens lost her service again to hand Svitolina the second set with 6-2. The Canadian Open runner-up was on game point but the Ukrainian, in a pure display of skill, fought her way back into the match.
Stephens was not that efficient in the second set, considering that she committed 18 unforced errors and managed to convert only one break point.
The deciding set lived up to the expectations of the fans. The first couple of games were quite intense with the two players alternating between deuce and advantage no less than eight times.
Svitolina took a 2-0 lead early in the set after breaking Stephen’s service in the second game. On her part, the American fought hard but had no answer to Svitolina’s resilience. The Ukrainian continued to fight with sheer determination as she saved three break points in the next game to eventually take a 3-0 lead in the decider.
However, Stephens did manage to get a break in the fifth game to get back in the match with 3-2. But once again, she was broken by Svitolina to hand her a 4-2 lead. The Ukrainian was quick to capitalize on this and eventually, she moved to take the set with 6-2 on the back of an unforced error by Stephens on match point.
Svitolina was better in every aspect of the game – she saved nine out of 12 break points while converting six out of 12. She had only 28 unforced errors in comparison to Stephens’ 44. She also maintained a first service win rate of 65%.
With that win, Svitolina became the first Ukrainian to win the WTA Finals. That was her fourth title of the season, with the other three being WTA Dubai, WTA Brisbane, and Italian Open, in turn also winning five matches against a top 10 player in the tournament,