| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo courtesy of USTA/Darren Carroll

 

The WTA Finals got underway this weekend with the top eight players in the world competing in Singapore, and Sloane Stephens and Naomi Osaka produced a thrilling match on Monday.

In a battle between the last two U.S. Open champions, it was Stephens who came out victorious in the opening round-robin match as she won 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

“I thought I played a really good match,” said Stephens. “I played solid from start to finish. Obviously playing someone with a lot of confidence is always a tough task, but I think that I played well and I kept a good attitude. So I was pleased with that.”

It was the first time competing at the end-of-the-year finals for both players and only the second meeting all-time between the two big-hitters.

Stephens is now 2-0 in her career against Osaka, and is now 1-0 inside the Red Group.

“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 added.

Joining Stephens atop the Red Group is Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands. Bertens defeated Germany’s Angelique Kerber 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday.

On Sunday, Elina Svitolina beat Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova defeated Caroline Wozniacki in their round-robin openers.