Composed Stephens takes Classic title

American Sloane Stephens has overcome the disruptions caused by some wet Auckland weather to claim her second WTA Tour title with victory in the ASB Classic.

Stephens, the fifth seed and world No.30, defeated unseeded German Julia Goerges 7-5 6-2 on a sunny Saturday to back up her debut success in Washington DC last year.

She had begun the day by completing her semi-final against third seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, a match halted the previous night by rain.

“I was just trying to do all the things I was doing and it worked out,” she said.

“I was pleased I was able to pull myself together from the morning and come back and play in the afternoon.”

Goerges had been able to play her semi-final against Austrian qualifier Tamira Paszek in its entirety during a break in the wet weather on Friday.

In the final, both players produced some big-hitting tennis from the start and took their opening service games to love.

But as the first set progressed, the contest tightened up and both had chances to break serve.

The decisive moment came at 5-5, when world No.50 Goerges, seeking her third career title, saved two break points, but not a third as Stephens passed her at the net.

It was another cross-court forehand passing shot that gave Stephens an early break in the second set.

She broke again for a 5-2 lead and made no mistake in serving out for the match in one hour and 16 minutes.

“She’s been playing some great tennis all week and I knew it was going to be tough,” Stephens said.

“I knew if I stayed solid and played within myself I would be okay.”

A lover of Indian food, Stephens will celebrate by going to the restaurant she had frequented all week for dinner.

The 22-year-old is scheduled to play in Hobart next week ahead of the Australian Open, but having laboured under a cold this week she said that was up in the air.

Earlier in the day, her interrupted semi-final against world No.17 Wozniacki had ended in a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) win.

When Stephens served out the opening set, it was the first set she had taken off the former world No.1 in their six meetings.

With the wind swirling around centre court, the second set was a tighter affair.

After an early break each, Stephens had another opportunity when a net cord went in her favour, but Wozniacki produced a second-serve ace to get back to deuce.

At 5-6, Stephens came up with an ace of her own to save set point, although Wozniacki believed the ball had been wide.

In the tiebreaker, Stephens won five points in a row to get to 6-2 and match point, and she ended the contest with her fifth ace.

In the doubles final, Belgian pair Elise Mertens and An-Sophie Mestach beat the Montenegrin-Czech combination of Danka Kovinic and Barbora Strycova 2-6 6-3 10-5.

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