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MIAMI, FL, USA – In the battle between reigning Grand Slam champions, Sloane Stephens edged past big-hitting Jelena Ostapenko to claim the Miami Open title in straight sets – the second-biggest title of her career.

Stephens, a South Florida native who lives in Fort Lauderdale, won the last women’s final on Key Biscayne. The tournament will move next year to the Miami Dolphins’ stadium.

Seeded 13th, Stephens won with defense, repeatedly extending rallies until Ostapenko would make a mistake. Ostapenko had a 25-6 advantage in winners but committed 48 unforced errors to 21 by Stephens.

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Stephens was the surprise champion at the U.S. Open last September and then endured a long slump she ended at Key Biscayne. She improved to 6-0 in finals, and will break into the top 10 for first time next week at No. 9.

Roland Garros champion Ostapenko came into the match without having dropped a set or lost a tiebreak during the entire Miami fortnight – but both streaks came to an end at the hands of US Open winner Stephens, 7-6(5), 6-1.

The victory will be even sweeter for Stephens come Monday – she’ll make her long-awaited Top 10 debut after this week, landing at World No.9. She also extends her impressive undefeated record in finals to 6-0.

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Stephens and the No. 6-seeded Ostapenko, last year’s French Open champion, battled almost exclusively from the baseline, and the quality of play was often ragged. The finalists traded breaks for four games, and Stephens was broken twice more when serving for the first set.

She wobbled again leading 6-2 in the pivotal tiebreaker, hitting unforced errors to lose consecutive set points. But Ostapenko dumped an easy backhand into the net to lose the set, and the Latvian appeared to tire after that, as a result of the onslaught of power returns received from Sloane Stephens.

Stephens swept the final six games, and on championship point Ostapenko sent a forehand wide. Stephens celebrated by pumping both fists to cheers from her hometown crowd.

In many ways, the career trajectories of Stephens and Ostapenko are a mirror of each other – both players struggled to back up their surprise Grand Slam results last year, combining for just seven match wins in 2018. But they both found their groove under the South Florida sun, and contested their first WTA Premier Mandatory finals today.