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By Erik Gudris | Friday, January 8, 2016

Sloane Stephens Auckland 2016

Sloane Stephens battled past both Caroline Wozniacki and Julia Goerges on the same day to win the Auckland WTA title.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

American Sloane Stephens claimed her second career WTA title on Saturday at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. To do so, she had to play back-to-back matches including against a former World No. 1.

Video: Wozniacki Badly Misses Serve Against Stephens in Auckland

“Finally. I’m done,” Stephens said with a laugh after being asked what it felt like after hitting her final winning shot. “No, seriously to win a tournament is unbelievable. And I’m just really happy.”

Rain on Friday suspended the fifth seeded Stephens’ semifinal against No. 3 seed Caroline Wozniacki. Stephens led the match 5-2 before bad weather halted play.

When the players returned to court on Saturday morning, Stephens quickly served out the opening set 6-2. In the second set, Stephens saved a set point against her before sending things into a tiebreak.

With an ace on match point, Stephens wrapped up her first ever win in six attempts against Wozniacki 6-2, 7-6(3).

After a few hours rest, Stephens was back on the center court to face Germany’s Julia Goerges. The hard-hitting lefty from Germany proved a formidable foe for Stephens, at least in the opening set.

Each woman easily held serve throughout the opening games. Georges, a former top 20 player, hit several pinpoint winners from both wings that later lead to break point opportunities. Yet, Stephens stood her ground and remained on serve with Goerges deep into the set.

Stephens made her move at 5-all. After missing out on two break point chances, Stephens hit a backhand winner to give herself a third break point chance. A fine passing shot winner from Stephens sealed the break and the 6-5 lead.

The American struck a big serve to close out the set 7-5.

Stephens pounced early in the second set. After Goerges netted a forehand trying to retrieve a short ball, she then found herself passed up at net by Stephens. That gave Stephens an early break lead for 2-1.

With Goerges racking up over 30 unforced errors before the end of the set, all Stephens had to do was stay consistent with her own game. Stephens earned another service game late in the set that gave her a 5-2 lead.

On championship point, Stephens hit a confident forehand winner to seal the victory 7-5, 6-2.

Auckland is now the second career title for Stephens who won her maiden title in Washington D.C. last year. This is also the first tile for Stephens while working with her new coach Kamau Murray.

“It’s definitely been a tough week,” Stephens said in the ceremony. “I played really tough players. To play this morning and then play in the finals is something I’ve never done so I’m really pleased with the way I was able to pull myself together and win this afternoon.”


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