A confident Elina Svitolina used a more assertive approach to produce a “statement” WTA Finals triumph in Singapore on Sunday, as the Ukrainian eyes elusive Grand Slam success next year.
Svitolina claimed the biggest title of her career with a tough 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Sloane Stephens in two hours and 23 minutes.
Her aggressive style in the eight-player season finale was the backbone of her success, as she become the first athlete to go through the WTA Finals undefeated since Serena Williams in 2013.
“That’s definitely a good statement for myself,” Svitolina told reporters. “The third set really showed that I was mentally tough.
“I think I have nothing to prove anymore to anyone.”
The 24-year-old has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam but is determined to build on her Singapore conquest, which also included defeating defending champion Caroline Wozniacki.
“This is the biggest title of my career. I played against top players and the best players in the world, and I played great tennis,” she said.
“This really shows that I can play great tennis and definitely is going to bring me lots of confidence.”
Her victory over Stephens was her ninth straight finals win and 13th from 15 overall.
“I know that I have won lots of finals, but for me every final is a big challenge,” she says. “Not everything worked in the first set, but I fought back and that’s what brought me the win today. I’m very proud of this.”
Svitolina split with coach Thierry Ascione in October and worked with Andrew Bettles in Singapore but said she would look at her options during the off-season.
“I don’t want to take a person and then split in two weeks. So it’s a big decision,” she said.
Svitolina could rise three spots to world number four on the rankings after capturing her fourth title of the year.