WTA Finals: Sloane Stephens v Karolina Pliskova, semi-final – live!

Much better from Stephens at the start of the game, this time taking the rally to her opponent. But when she looked to apply some pressure, Pliskova just whipped a forehand winner down the line with Stephens only able to watch it fly by. Thereon, the American was up against it. On the next point she found the net and despite getting out of jail with a weak second serve, found the net again at 30-30 to present Pliskova a set point. Symbolically and fittingly, the Czech sealed it with two angled groundstrokes and two big smashes. A 1-2 punch Stephens just cannot live with at the moment.

First set: Stephens 0-5 Pliskova* (*denotes server)

These Pliskova groundstrokes are really something. So much spin and deadly accurate. Stephens can’t get over the ball and dictate any of the rallies, forced to scamper all the way along the baseline and just defend on the move, and often at full stretch. That was all way too comfortable for the Czech.

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