Kerber, Stephens win in 3 sets at WTA Finals

Ross Houston
October 27, 2018

Kerber then won the final set to clinch the match, which lasted 2 hours and 31 minutes.

Improved serving from both players ensured the opener went to a tiebreak and after Stephens staked another 3-0 lead, the American edged ahead on her third set point when Bertens sent a forehand into the tramlines.

EPA-EFE/GEORGIOS KEFALASSloane Stephens of the United States of America in action during her singles round robin match against Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals 2018 held at the Indoor Stadium in Singapore, 24 October 2018.

The hard-hitting Osaka struggled on serve throughout against Kerber and had a first serve percentage of 50 for the match, which plummeted to just 44 percent in the deciding set. I feel like I'm not really sure how that's going wrong, and I want to practice it.

"I think we are kind of similar in that we can mix it up a lot and do a lot of different things", Stephens said. "I had my chances in the second set but she played unbelievable. I knew this time I had a chance because I was playing pretty well in my other two matches here", Pliskova said on court after the match. It's great to have such a match done.

Sloane Stephens stands on the brink of the last four at the WTA Finals after coming out on top in an almighty battle with Kiki Bertens.

Kerber, the number one seed, beat the Japanese 6-4 5-7 6-4 in a match that included 11 breaks of serve.

Overall the US Open champion hit 42 winners to Kerber's 24, but it was her own mistakes that cost her.

Bertens' all-round skills have shown her, as much as any observers, what a danger she can be across surfaces, and we can expect her to cover the court well, as well as be pretty devastating at the net. Nerves seemed to get the best of the 30-year-old though and she too failed to hold serve as Osaka gave herself a lifeline with the crowd roaring in approval.

Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates after winning her group stage match against Japan's Naomi Osaka.

Bertens roared back, however, winning the final two sets easily.

Bertens capitalised on a rapid drop in intensity from Stephens to reel off four games in a row on her way to taking the second set.

One spot remains for Saturday's semifinals and it will come down to either top seed Angelique Kerber or No.5 seed Sloane Stephens.

But the Wimbleodn champion arrested her slide to level in the decider as Osaka began stretching her hamstring again.

The rest of the first set went with serve, despite Osaka having a triple break point in the final game.

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