Sloane Stephens, Jelena Ostapenko Bid For First Miami Title
by Staff | March 31st, 2018, 11:18 am
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Two players who weren’t even on the radar a year ago meet for the Miami title today. Now, as Grand Slam champions, Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko, meet for their second biggest title.

The two have never met before. Ostapneko has yet to lose a set while Stephens has beaten some big names en route including 3-time champion Victoria Azarenka and former No. 1s Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber.

Both are into their sixth career WTA final. Stephens is 5-0 in finals, Ostapneko 2-3.

“I grew up playing tennis here in Key Biscayne,” Stephens said. “The USTA used to be here, and we used to come down here all the time.

“So it’s South Florida. I grew up in South Florida. So for any of my friends and family, it’s always amazing to play here, because they get to come and see me. It’s unfortunate that it’s the last year here, but they are — my friends and family are in full force.”

The 20-year-old Ostapenko is playing just her second Miami Open.

“Of course it’s great and great tournament here,” Ostapenko said. “First final this season. Really happy to be here and playing on such amazing court with the crowd. I’m just looking forward to having another great match.

“I think I still have to be very aggressive and try to go for shots when I have to. And of course she’s a great player and it’s gonna be a tough match.”

Ostapneko is the third player born in 1997 to make a big final this month after Noami Osaka and Daria Kasatkina at Indian Wells.

“I think actually the year of 1997 is quite strong, because I think we are maybe like 10 players in top 100. It’s quite strong year,” she said. “I remember back in juniors we had some tough matches and some great players. We played in juniors, and now we are sometimes playing here on WTA Tour.”

Stephens is guaranteed a spot in the Top 10 for the first time at No. 9 while the 5th-ranked Ostapenko will move to a new career-high with a win today.

The match begins at 1pm local time.

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