Sloane Stephens is for real — at least on U.S. soil.
The American on Saturday beat reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko to win the Miami Open, the second-biggest title of her career after the 2017 US Open, and her first of 2018.
Ostapenko hadn’t lost a set during the tournament before falling to Stephens 7-6(5), 6-1.
The American remains a perfect 6-0 in career finals and on Monday will debut in the Top 10 on the WTA rankings at No. 9.
“I always play well in the U.S., I don’t know why, I think it’s because of you guys,” she told the Miami crowd afterwards. “Jelena you had a great week…we played doubles in Australia, I’m sure we’ll play many more times and I look forward to it, congratulations.”
The No. 13-seeded Stephens righted the ship after a rough start that saw four straight breaks of serve between the two players. In the first-set tiebreak Stephens went up 6-2 before a comeback by Ostapenko that seemingly wouldn’t be stopped until the Latvian dumped an unforced error into the net trailing 5-6.
In the second set Ostapenko got an early break but it would be her only game as Stephens steamrolled to the title.
Stephens has put herself in prime position to climb the Top 10 ladder, defending no major points until August after sitting out last summer due to foot surgery.
Ostapenko was appearing in her first final of the year, and now enters the claycourt season when she has been most fruitful. Last year she won the French Open and was runner-up in Charleston.
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