Osaka vows to come back stronger after WTA defeat

Osaka vows to come back stronger after WTA defeat

Both players fought to their limit in their WTA-Finals debut; however, Stephens, 25 years old, was the victor after two hours and 24 minutes, claiming her second win over Osaka, the 2018 US Open champion, in as many career duels, reports Efe.

Naomi Osaka used her potent serve to punishing effect to claim the U.S. Open title last month but the Japanese has been unable to harness it's full power at the WTA Finals, losing her opening two round-robin matches in tight three-setters.

"I knew from the very beginning it was obviously going to be a tough match, so I was going to have to stay in a lot of long points and make sure that I made a lot of plays on the ball, which I did", Stephens said.

Kerber saved 13 of the 18 break points she faced, including five in the final game of the first set, to improve to 1-1 at the season-ending tournament.

The American struggled mid-match, but fought back from an early break in the third set to prevail 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-3 in 2 hours, 20 minutes.

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Sloane Stephens marked her first WTA Finals outing with a 7-5 4-6 6-1 victory over fellow debutant Naomi Osaka on Monday.

But Osaka is not one to back down and the 21-year-old broke straight back to level at 4-4, thanks to some sublime stroke-making aided by a couple of double-faults from her opponent.

A subdued Osaka could not unleash her powerful game and grew frustrated as Stephens drew first blood. "I think she played really well, and I think she deserved to win the match", she added.

It was the result Osaka needed after she fell to No. 1 seed Angelique Kerber in a three-set classic to put her on the brink of elimination.

Bertens changed her mentality in the second set, however, to win six of the next seven games and even the scores.

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To say it "went a little better" is an understatement with Bertens breaking her German opponent twice to level the contest before she emerged from the topsy-turvy decider with her 11th victory over a top-10 player this season. With both players serving poorly, Kerber's next break eventually proved decisive.

However, Osaka fought back to earn two break points and levelled the match at 5-5 with a brilliant forehand victor.

Bertens only qualified just days before the tournament after world number one Simona Halep withdrew due to injury.

"There are a lot of moments, you have to be able to get through it, taking on the challenge". She once again broke a flustered Kerber to take it into a third set for the first time between the pair. With the score 4:3, Bertens played a triple break-point and the first match ball ended the match in their favor.

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