Stephens rallies for spot in final

Stephens rallies for spot in final

Sloane Stephens produced a scintillating comeback from a set and a break down to oust Victoria Azarenka and reach the final of the Miami Open on Friday.

Stephens will face both French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, the sixth seed, or Western qualifier Danielle Collins at Saturday's final in Crandon Park.

Collins, No. 93 in the world for a few more days, will more than double her career earnings when the money from Miami arrives.

And now Collins, who took the more-unusual path through college to pro life, still has a shot at becoming perhaps Miami's most surprising champion.

Collins, belying her 93rd ranking, pounded victor after winner to beat fellow American Williams at her own game and set up a semifinal against French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

"You fight your tail off in those matches to be able to get to center court and play girls like that [the champions]".

"At the end of last season, I had to play, I wanted to play", Stephens said, reviewing her struggles of late 2017.

"I honestly didn't feel good at all the whole match", said Azarenka, a three-time champion at Key Biscayne whose 11-match winning streak there was snapped.

The Belarusian may have played little competitive tennis in recent years but she enjoyed a respectable run in Miami, including victory over Czech world number six Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals. Isner nailed 13 aces past the South Korean and missed only one of 32 first serve points.

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Besides the trip to the final, there are a few significant other perks for Stephens, who spent some of her youth learning the game at Key Biscayne.

But despite the pressure it was the Latvian who broke first, getting ahead with a break to love at 3-1 on a sloppy Collins service game.

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) - John Isner moved one step closer to the biggest title of his 14-year career by beating a tired Juan Martin del Potro 6-1, 7-6 (2) Friday in the semifinals of the Miami Open. "I've played well here in the past and I'm so happy that I'm playing well here again". Juan Martin del Potro and Venus Williams headlined the group in action in the quarterfinals.

In a men's quarterfinal, 16th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta wasted two match points on his serve in the second set before recovering - almost two hours later - and ousting No. 6 Kevin Anderson 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6) in a rematch of a U.S. Open semifinal from past year.

Taylor suggested her to mix it up not to give Collins easy balls to attack.

Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, Russia, def. Oliver Marach, Austria, and Mate Pavic (3), Croatia, 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Carreno Busta will play either No. 4 Alex Zverev or No. 29 Borna Coric in the semifinals.

Ashleigh Barty, Australia, and CoCo Vandeweghe, United States, def. Nadiia Kichenok, Ukraine, and Anastasia Rodionova, Australia, 7-6 (5), 6-2.