After a slump at the start of the year, Sloane Stephens managed to change her fortunes and consolidate her position in the top-10 of the rankings with several performances, and her breakthrough on clay which saw her reach the final of Roland Garros. Finals in Paris and Montreal alongside a title in Miami allowed the American to remain in the top-10 through the majority of the year.
Hence, as a result, Stephens has managed to qualify for her maiden WTA Finals appearance through a series of excellent results. This will be her first appearance at the prestigious event although she has been an alternate all the way back in 2013.
Impressive 2018 sends Stephens to Singapore
Her first quarterfinal of the year was in Acapulco, where she broke the duck of an eight-match losing streak and claimed the confidence-boosting run. She then went all the way at the Miami Open, storming past Muguruza, Kerber, Azarenka, and Ostapenko in the process. Her barren run at the start of 2018 initially resulted in her leave from the top-10, but the Miami title allowed her to re-enter the elite batch.
A decent draw at the French Open provided Stephens with the golden opportunity to excel, and she converted it. She outlasted Kontaveit, Kasatkina, and Keys but wasted a huge lead against world number one Simona Halep in the final. Nonetheless, the outstanding run brought her to a new career-high ranking of three ultimately.
She displayed some high-level tennis at the Rogers Cup too, rattling off consecutive straight-sets wins to reach the final but once again fell to nemesis Halep in a high-quality final which lasted a marathon. In her attempt to defend her US Open title, she produced a spirited run to the last eight having defeated Mertens and Azarenka along the way.
Entering Singapore with no deep runs in Asia, Stephens will look to regain some form and momentum at the Kremlin Cup this week after receiving a wildcard into the tournament despite having already qualified for Singapore.
Happy to make her debut
This is Stephens’ first-ever qualification for the year-ending Championships, and inevitably, she would feel excited about her first appearance in this tournament which only involves the top eight players in the world. “I’m honored to qualify for my first WTA Finals. I’m looking forward to meeting the amazing fans in Singapore, exploring the city, and competing against the best players of the season.”