American Stephens beats Ostapenko for Miami Open title

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens won her hometown tournament, beating Jelena Ostapenko 7-6 (5), 6-1 in Saturday’s final at the Miami Open.

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.

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.

John Isner tries for the biggest title of his career Sunday when he faces Alexander Zverev in the men’s final. Isner could give the United States its first sweep at Key Biscayne since 2004 when Andy Roddick and Serena Williams won.

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.

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.

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