Stephens, Ostapenko to Meet in Miami Open Final, Zverev and Carreno Busta Advance
(March 29, 2018) MIAMI – The reigning U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens will take on the current Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko in the final of Miami Open.
Sloane Stephens rallied from a set and a break down to beat Victoria Azarenka 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, winning 12 of the last 13 games.
“I think for me that’s obviously a good win for me,” Stephens said. “It’s someone I have lost three times before prior to obviously last week. So I had to fight, and I had to play some of my best tennis today.
“I thought it was a really great match. Some of you might not agree, but I thought that we played some really good points.
“Yeah, I’m excited. I’m happy to be in the final. I think anyone would be. Hopefully I take that good tennis into Saturday’s final.”
“I honestly didn’t feel good at all the whole match, said Azarenka. “I felt like I was a little bit too slow. It’s just I was fresher in the first set and getting to the ball at the right time.
“And then I stopped getting to the ball. I stopped hitting the ball the way I should be hitting the ball. You know, she’s gonna jump on it. She had great shots.
“If I play less, a little bit shorter, you know, she has an advantage. I wasn’t there in the second and in the third set the way I wanted to be.
“You know, she played well. She pushed me. She took all the opportunities she had. I had so many, still, still had so many opportunities in the second set, and I didn’t take them. So it’s my fault.”
Jelena Ostapenko, the sixth seed, will move up to a career high No. 4 in the world next week. The Latvian ended the run of American qualifier Danielle Collins 7-6(1), 6-3.
“She was playing very, very well today,” noted Ostapenko. “She had a set point in the first set.
“I saved it, and I was just fighting really hard. I knew it’s gonna be a tough match, because I saw a couple of her matches this tournament and she was playing really on a high level, so I expected her to play this tennis.”
“I remember when we played in juniors. I was, like, 14 and she was 18. She was also hitting quite hard the ball.
“Yeah, but of course now she improved a lot. She was not missing today. She was going for the shots, serving well, very consistent. So I wasn’t surprised with the way she played.”
Ostapenko has not dropped a set during the tournament. “I think I’m calmer, and also mentally I’m stronger now,” she said. “Yeah, just more consistent and more confident and just going for shots sometimes and not afraid to miss it.”
In men’s action, Pablo Carreno Busta beat Kevin Anderson for the first time, saving a match point, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6) to reach the semifinals.
“It was an amazing match, no? I lost last week with him, 7-6 in the third set. And today, well, at the beginning of the match I start to playing really good, I think returning good, serving good, being very aggressive.
“Well, I serve for the match in the second set, 40-15, and he played some unbelievable points, passing shots, returning really good, winner with his forehand.
“And after that it was a really tough mental moment for me after lose the second set. But I continue, on court, I continue fighting. At the end of the match, I save a match point with his serve in the tiebreak, and finally I won.
“So imagine I am very happy with a victory, because it’s very important to me this victory against him and also to be in the semifinals in this tournament.”
The Spaniard will play world No. 4 Alexander Zverev, who defeated Borna Coric 6-4, 6-4.