Stephens advances to set up finals clash with Ostapenko

01 April, 2018, 02:36 | Author: Alyssa Little
  • Sloane Stephens beat Victoria Azarenka 3-6 6-2 6-1 to reach WTA Miami Open final

You can certainly make the argument that Stephens should haveve taken more time off after winning her first Major instead of participating in the Asian Swing just a few weeks after her big win.

She wasn't starstruck when facing her idol.

French Open champion Ostapenko beat unseeded American Danielle Collins in the nightcap, staving off a set point en route to a 7-6 (1) 6-3 triumph.

A break for 6-5 in the first set gave her the opportunity to serve it out but it wasn t taken allowing Ostapenko to force a tie-break which she dominated 7-1.

"The first time I saw Venus in the locker room, I almost cried".

"I think all young American girls idolize and look up to Venus and Serena".

When she will play again is unclear. "She's been my favourite player for forever and this is just a special moment I'm trying to wrap my head around it".

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Victoria Azarenko won the tournament in Miami three times in her career - in 2009, 2011, and 2016. Along the way she's knocked out the likes of childhood hero and No.8 seed Venus Williams as well as CoCo Vandeweghe and Monica Puig, putting together a fairytale run into the semifinals. "I wasn't playing terribly", Stephens recalled.

The Belarusian may have played little competitive tennis in recent years but she enjoyed a respectable run in Miami, including victory over Czech world number six Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals.

She arrived in Key Biscayne with US$305,385 in career earnings, which she will add at least US$327,965 to by advancing to the semi-finals.

No qualifier had ever gone this deep at Key Biscayne, though Collins looked perfectly comfortable on the stage against Williams.

"I'm looking forward to another great match", she said.

Ostapenko and Stephens have never played a tour match against each other, and both are seeking their first title this season.

The argentine will now face John Isner in the semifinal to scale through Isner cruised past South Korea's Hyeon Chung 6-1, 6-4. The qualifier had 18 winners in the match, two more than Williams, and won almost half of the points when returning Williams' serve. "In the very first set I was down however that I fought thus that I knew basically did this at the second, I'd be right within", the 25-year-old American explained in a on-court job interview.

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