Sloane Stephens topples Angelique Kerber to reach semi-finals on her WTA Finals debut as Kiki Bertens also progresses in Singapore after Naomi Osaka withdraws through injury
- Sloane Stephens is into the semi-finals on her WTA Finals debut in Singapore
- She beat Angelique Kerber to set up a last-four match with Karolina Pliskova
- Elina Svitolina will take on Kiki Bertens in the competition’s other semi-final
- Bertens’ opponent Naomi Osaka retired from their match with a thigh injury
Sloane Stephens recorded her fifth straight win over top seed Angelique Kerber to reach the semi-finals on her debut appearance in the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Stephens made it three wins out of three in the Red Group with a 6-3 6-3 victory in an hour and 40 minutes to set up a last-four contest with Karolina Pliskova.
Elina Svitolina will take on Kiki Bertens in the other semi-final after Bertens’ opponent Naomi Osaka was forced to retire from their group match due to a thigh injury.
Sloane Stephens is into the semi-finals on her debut appearance in the WTA Finals event
Stephens recorded her fifth straight win of the event against Angelique Kerber in Singapore
Stephens had to save break points in each of her first two service games before breaking Kerber twice to surge into a 5-2 lead, although the 25-year-old then missed an easy forehand on her first set point.
That error threatened to prove costly when Kerber broke serve to keep the set alive, but the left-hander promptly lost her own serve for a third time to gift Stephens the set.
Two more breaks of serve helped Stephens secure victory and the former US Open champion said: ‘I thought I stayed solid the whole time. I knew it was going to be a battle. I just came out and played as tough as I could and I’m just really pleased to be through with the win.’
Kiki Bertens is through after Naomi Osaka was forced to retire from their match due to injury
Earlier in the day Osaka took a medical timeout at 5-3 down in the opening set of her contest
The 21-year-old reigning US Open champion indicated she was unable to continue the match
Earlier in the day Osaka took a medical timeout at 5-3 down in the opening set and, after Bertens won the next game to take the set, the 21-year-old US Open champion indicated she was unable to continue.
‘I saw her in the match before that she was struggling a little bit with the hamstring, and of course she was taped today, but I think in the beginning she was still okay,’ Bertens said.
‘It’s never easy or never nice to win a match like this, but it is what it is. I’ll take it and I’ll take my rest, and I have some more recovery time for tomorrow.’