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"Obviously, it was not the result I wanted but I worked really hard to get here, am proud of my play and really pleased with what I did this week", Stephens said.

Elina Svitolina secured the biggest title of her career on Sunday, becoming the first Ukrainian player to win the season-ending WTA Finals trophy.

Stephens, making her debut at the WTA Finals, surrendered her serve again on a first match point for Svitolina in the eighth game by sending a backhand crosscourt wide. "The third set really showed that I was mentally tough".

Svitolina's form nosedived in the second half of the year and after sneaking into the eight-woman field courtesy of three early-season titles, the world number seven sensed her presence had been regarded as undeserved in some quarters. "I played against top players and the best players in the world, and I played great tennis", she said. "I always try to be there for that challenge".

There was very little to choose between the players as the match proceeded and it was Svitolina's turn to make the initial breakthrough in the second set when she capitalized on untidy play from Stephens to edge a break ahead.

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Stephens looked on her way to becoming the eighth U.S. player to win the WTA Finals as she grabbed a one-set advantage on the strength of an early service break, reports Efe news.

Stephens endured a surprisingly bad start against Karolina Pliskova, eating up a first set bagel and a breakdown in the second, before recovering to win 0-6, 6-4,6-1.

Svitolina fell onto her back on the court in celebration, and then shared a hug with Stephens.

Svitolina could rise three spots to world number four on the rankings after her triumph and she has now won nine straight finals. "I was really excited to be here and compete with everybody". "And people are out there saying "she shouldn't have even made it to those finals".

"I have been putting lots of work in this past five months".