Sloane Stephens beats Jelena Ostapenko to land first title since US Open

Sloane Stephens beats Jelena Ostapenko to land first title since US Open

South Florida local Sloane Stephens edged past fast-hitting Latvian Jelena Ostapenko to claim the prestigious Miami Open title for the first time here on Sunday.

Both players struggled to hold serve in a tense opening set, with eight breaks in all, but it was Stephens who found her rhythm quickest.

The US Open champion had earlier face Victoria Azarenka at the semi-final where she won 10 straight games against the Belerusian, 3-6, 6-2,6-1, to book her place for the Miami Open final.

I think coming back to play tennis, I feel so good that I'm able to compete every week.

"When David came on the court he was telling me to keep playing aggressive, to go for the shots", Ostapenko said on court.

The 24-year-old is finally finding her feet at the highest level, as she showed by keeping the pressure on Williams with victory in sight.

The American had won just three contests since winning her maiden Grand Slam crown, with many fearing the 25-year-old's success may only be a flash in the pan. "I just accepted that some good shots were going to be hit and just didn't harp on it too much".

"I knew that I was just going to have to..."

There were boos ringing around Crandon Park when tournament director James Blake told the crowd that he would see them next year at the Hard Rock Stadium.

However, after beating four Slam champions en route to glory, Stephens has proven that she can be a match for anyone when she's on song.

"I knew that I was just going to have to run a lot of balls down", said the victor.

"I'm really looking forward to it".

"I made sure after Australia I got in the best shape possible. Hopefully I can make some dents there, as well, during the clay court season". But she shook her slump on Key Biscayne, improved to 6-0 in finals and will break into the top 10 for first time next week at No. 9. The Latvian then handed Stephens another chance to serve out the first set, though she proceeded to double fault on break point down to take what had been an error-prone set to a tiebreak.

"Half the people I didn't even know", she said. "I just needed a little bit of a reminder to just go for it if I wanted to take the title". "'Whatever people said, whatever, it is what it is, but now I'm here and I have this handsome trophy, and no one will ever be able to take that away from me, so I'm just going to walk with my head high and, you know, embrace it".