Sloane Stephens wins Miami Open title by overcoming Jelena Ostapenko

Ruben Holloway
April 2, 2018

But at this Miami Open, Ostapenko defeated No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina and No. 9 Petra Kvitova in straight sets.

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) - Half an hour after Sloane Stephens won her hometown tournament, she lingered on the confetti-covered court, posing for photos and signing autographs as if reluctant to leave Key Biscayne.

Prior to her arrival in Miami, Stephens' win-loss record since the US Open had been a miserable 3-10. It's also her first title since winning the US Open.

Florida born Stephens loves Key Biscayne and added: "I will miss it and I feel very fortunate to be the last victor here". "I'm definitely happy I could be the last person to win here". I have had some incredible experiences here.

Even so, Stephens was surprised that fans jeered during the trophy ceremony when tournament director James Blake mentioned the relocation. I think that's what helped me kind of get through that breaker. "I'm excited for the move. I'm sure it will be handsome".

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Downs Ostapenko, 7-6 (5), 6-1!

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The first set was where the match was truly won by the rangy Stephens and lost on a miscue-filled day for Ostapenko, who had 29 unforced errors in the opening set compared to just 12 for Stephens.

After Stephens went on to break for a 4-3 lead, Ostapenko's coach David Taylor tried to settle her down with a pep talk, pushing her pupil to accelerate through the ball and staying aggressive. "I was sometimes missing shots I was normally making this week".

'It's super awesome because growing up in South Florida, a lot of friends and family are here so it's really awesome for me.

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After seeing her ranking drop as low as 957 in 2017 largely due to a left foot injury, Stephens will now debut in the top-10 of the WTA leaderboard.

"It's honestly been a dream two weeks here", Stephens said afterward, addressing the fans.

"I always play well in the USA, I don't know why, I think it's because of you guys", she told the Miami crowd afterwards.

"I wasn't expecting a title here or anywhere, really".

"I just wanted to make sure my game was where I wanted it to be", Stephens said of her mindset coming to Miami.

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There were boos ringing around Crandon Park when tournament director James Blake told the crowd that he would see them next year at the Hard Rock Stadium.

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