Despite having fought back on so many occasions throughout the set, Ostapenko once again fell behind in the breaker, and this time couldn't fight back as Stephens took the tiebreak 7-5. That, and the French Open, are her only two career titles.
"Obviously this place is pretty special to me, said the Fort Lauderdale area native". But she shook her slump on Key Biscayne, improved to 6-0 in finals and will break into the top 10 for first time next week at No. 9.
"I always play well in the US, I don't know why, I think it's because of you guys", she told the Miami crowd afterwards.
After her remarkable triumph at Flushing Meadows back in September, Stephens has largely struggled, not picking up single victory after her maiden Grand Slam triumph until Acapulco at the beginning of March. "Key Biscayne is a hidden gem but I am sure the new place will be great".More news: How can you reduce the data Facebook collects?
US Open champion Stephens prevailed in the tie-break to win it 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 in an hour and 31 minutes.
Stephens is powerful all-court player with a large swinging forehand and a very solid two-handed backhand that packs her punch.
"A final feels different, there was more pressure and I was missing shots I was hitting earlier in the week", she said. The best explanation for why may have come from ESPN commentator and former U.S. Fed Cup captain Mary Joe Fernandez today: "Margin really helps in moments of tension", Fernandez said. When she was hitting great shots, I just was, like, Too good, and moved on. "I always play well in the U.S".
But Stephens will immediately head to Charleston, where she won the tournament (and the Volvo) the last time she played it in 2016. The difference, in the end, came down to those errors: Stephens defended the better, forcing her opponent to go for too much too soon.More news: Israeli airline cries foul over Air India flights over Saudi airspace
It's something that I have wanted for a really long time. "I have had some awesome experiences here, and I'll definitely miss it, but I think - yeah, I just feel fortunate that I was able to do that here in South Florida with all my friends and family watching".
The 12th-ranked Stephens took home the trophy despite an unattractive stat line of six winners and 21 unforced errors, while Ostapenko struck only 10 winners and committed a whopping 48 unforced errors in just 20 games.
It's something I really look forward to. "I was sometimes missing shots I was normally making this week".More news: Former Disney Star Caroline Sunshine Just Joined the Trump Administration
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