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By Chris Oddo | Saturday August 11, 2018

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens recorded her third Top 5 win of the season by defeating Elina Svitolina in the pair's first meeting since 2014.

Photo Source: Ezra Shaw/Getty

Sloane Stephens hasn’t exactly figured out how to play her best tennis week-in and week-out on the WTA Tour, but once again on Saturday night in Montreal the American proved that when she is on she can be darn near impossible to beat.

The No.3-seeded American powered past fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-3 in Saturday’s second semifinal, setting up a rematch of this year’s Roland Garros final with top-seeded Simona Halep.

“I’m going to give it another go,” said Stephens hopefully on court after the match. “I was pretty close the last time so I’m just going to go out and play hard.”

Stephens led that final by a set and break but the wheels came off as Halep rose to glory to clinch her maiden major title. Both women have looked so good in Montreal that it isn’t outlandish to think that we could be watching a U.S. Open final preview on Sunday.

Tennis Express

Halep has battled through four victories in 48 hours, and blew past Ashleigh Barty in commanding fashion in Saturday’s first semifinal, while Stephens has cruised all week and is the only player that has yet to drop a set at Coupe Rogers.

Halep has won five straight against Stephens and leads the head-to-head 6-2 overall.

Stephens was in jaw-dropping form pretty much from start to finish against Svitolina, but full credit to the Ukrainian who fought valiantly to remain competitive and at times threatened to steal the momentum. The defending champ rallied from 4-0 and 5-1 down to close to 5-3 in the opening set, but Stephens switched it up a notch and saved two game points before converting her second set point with Svitolina serving to stay alive in the set.

Stephens set up her second set point with a brilliant inside-out backhand that kissed the line. On the next point Svitolina tried the same shot but missed—it was a gentle reminder that though the play a similar style, Stephens was in possession of everything that Svitolina had and then some on this day.

Stephens broke for 3-1 in the second set but again a game Svitolina hung in and managed a break back to get to 3-4. But it always felt inevitable on this night—whatever Svitolina could do to slow Stephens’ progress would be done in vain.

Stephens broke back immediately for 5-3 and converted her first match point in the next game, slashing a wickedly angled crosscourt winner to close affairs in one hour and 38 minutes.

Stephens finished with 22 winners against 23 unforced errors on the evening, while the typically stingy Ukrainian finished with 12 winners and 31 unforced errors.


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