Following a week of gut-busting matches at the WTA Finals, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens will take on Elina Svitolina for the trophy on Sunday. At stake is the world No.4 position as well as an extra $1.75 million in prize money for the winner.
Coming off her 2017 US Open title, Stephens subsequently went on an eight-match losing streak, which bled into her 2018 season. But once Stephens got a few wins under her belt, she quickly rose back to prominence, winning the Premier Mandatory at Miami in March. She would go on to make the final at Roland Garros, where she was up a set and a break before Simona Halep mounted a comeback to win her first Major title. Back in North America this summer, Sloane was a finalist in Montreal, again falling to Halep in the final. At the US Open as the defending champion, she was playing well before succumbing to Anastasija Sevastova in the quarterfinals on an extremely hot and humid day. Now she’s into the third biggest final of her career at the WTA Finals.
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After a 2017 season where she won five titles and entered the top 10 for the first time, Svitolina failed to build upon that success in 2018. While she remained in the top 10 and qualified for Singapore for the second straight year, she won only three titles this season, and hasn’t won a tournament since May. Svitolina also continued to underperform at the Majors, reaching only one quarterfinal. She went just 2-3 on the Asian swing of the tour leading into this tournament, so she arrived in Singapore with very little momentum. But Elina stepped up to the occasion this week, going 4-0 and winning three matches in a deciding third set. Now she’ll play for the biggest title of her life, as she looks to take her career to the next level.
Sloane Stephens vs. Elina Svitolina
Both of these players are strong performers in tournament finals. Stephens is 6-2 in her career at this stage. However, she’s lost her last two tournament finals, though both of those were against world No.1 Simona Halep. Svitolina is 12-2 at this stage, and has won her last eight tournament finals. While she’s never won a title of this magnitude, six of her last eight titles came at Premier or Premier 5 events, which are significant tournaments to be sure.
These two split matches played in 2014, with their only other meeting coming early this year on Montreal, when Stephens defeated Svitolina in a straight-set semifinal. Sloane got off to a terrible start against Karolina Pliskova yesterday, losing the first eight games of the match. But she’ll take confidence from the way she fought back to win, and will likely play more freely on Sunday knowing she escaped near-elimination. Svitolina is obviously fully comfortable in finals, but she’ll surely feel the pressure of this occasion on Sunday. And she was thoroughly pushed by Kiki Bertens yesterday, in a longer and much more competitive semifinal. Stephens does just about everything a little better than Svitolina when playing her best, and has won both of their previous hard court matches in straight sets. With all this in mind, I’m picking Sloane to raise the Billie Jean King trophy on Sunday.
Head-to-head record – Svitolina leads 2-1
|Year||Name||Round||Surface||Winning Player||Losing Player||Score|
|2018||Canadian Masters||SF||Hard||Sloane Stephens||Elina Svitolina||6-3 6-3|
|2014||Charleston||R32||Clay||Elina Svitolina||Sloane Stephens||6-4 6-4|
|2014||Australian Open||R32||Hard||Sloane Stephens||Elina Svitolina||7-5 6-4|
Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup
Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar. Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup. Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first.
Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time. And each match on Sunday is worth three points.
Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm
Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles. So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday. Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday. Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist. If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.
Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)
Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles. While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever. Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.
Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay. It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1). And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday. Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.
Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary
Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games. He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts. However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.
Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary
Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday. If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.
The full Laver Cup schedule is here.
Roger Federer Claims Happiness Over Tennis Retirement In Emotional Last Match
It was an emotional evening in London as Roger Federer said goodbye to tennis.
Roger Federer has said that his retirement from tennis was full of joy not sadness after an emotional occasion at the Laver Cup.
The career of one of the greatest tennis players of all time is over after 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer played his last match of his career at the O2 Arena in London.
Federer teamed up with Rafael Nadal to take on Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock with the American pairing claiming victory 4-6 7-6(2) 11-9 to level the tie for Team World at 2-2.
However celebration was limited as the whole venue celebrated, cried and soaked up the emotion that Roger Federer’s career was over.
There were tears from Federer, his family as well as rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic as the end of an era was upon Tennis.
Even a performance from Ellie Goulding saw the Arena’s emotion get stronger as the Swiss maestro said goodbye to a sport he has played since he was a kid.
However despite the tears Federer claimed after the match that it was a day of celebration not sadness as he closed a big chapter of his life, “It’s been a wonderful day. I’m happy, not sad. It feels great to be here. I’m happy I made it through,” Federer told the BBC website.
“It’s been the perfect journey. I’d do it all again. Everyone’s here, the boys and girls. My wife has been so supportive. She could have stopped me a long, long time ago but she didn’t.
“Being with the guys and having family and friends, I didn’t feel the stress so much even if I felt something would go during the match. I am so glad I made it through and the match was great. I couldn’t be happier.”
After 1,750 matches in his career, Federer now faces the prospect of leaving the sport he has know for over 20 years as a professional tennis player.
But Federer gave the biggest hint yet that he wants to continue to be apart of the sport for the future.
Speaking to the press Federer claimed that he wants to travel around the world to say thanks to those who didn’t have a chance on Friday evening, “Hopefully we’ll see each other again on a different type of tennis court, somewhere around the world,” Federer was quoted as saying by the BBC website.
“I think the message from me was just making sure I relay my passion for the sport to the fans. I have no plans whatsoever, where, how, when. All I know, I would love to go and play places I have never played before or go say thank you for years to come to all the people that have been so supportive of me.
“The hard part about the Laver Cup was that tickets were already sold out. The people who maybe would have also loved to be here couldn’t make it. Maybe there is another way down the stretch we can party all together.”
An incredible career was celebrated, rejoiced and soaked in by the whole of Tennis and now Federer gets to reflect on a once in a lifetime career.
Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday
In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2. And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit. With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup?
Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day. Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm. And each match on Saturday is worth two points.
Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm
These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions. Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event. Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati. Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup. Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.
Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session
Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play. Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive. Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17. Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon. They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets. Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.
Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm
Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday? He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock. Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios. The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.
Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5. Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York. Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets. Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day. But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.
Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session
Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here. This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals. Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2. De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.
The full Laver Cup schedule is here.
Botic Van de Zandschulp beats Joao Sousa to reach the second round in Tel Aviv
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Ilya Ivashka battles past Mikael Ymer in the longest match in the history of the Sofia Open
Cameron Norrie Vows To Make ‘Big Push’ In Bid To Reach Tour Finals
Roger Federer To Make Last-Minute Decision Over Laver Cup Participation, Says Coach
Juan Martin Del Potro Reveals Physical And Mental Trauma From Tennis Retirement
Andy Murray Calls For Earlier Start To Davis Cup Ties After Great Britain Loses Late-Night Thriller
Serena Williams’ Spectacular US Open Outfit Includes Diamond-Encrusted Shoes
US Open 2022: John McEnroe Lashes Out At Journalist In Midst Of Nadal Row
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty ’Satisfied’ With Davis Cup Format Despite Issues
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty Reacts To Federer’s Retirement
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon Win Was Good But The Level Wasn’t Great
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE): Novak Djokovic Battles Past Norrie, Faces Kyrgios In The Final
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