World No.8 Sloane Stephens has confirmed she will join Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber and newly crowned US Open champion Naomi Osaka in next year’s star-studded Sydney International field.
Stephens, who qualified sixth for this week’s WTA Finals in what was a hotly contested year-end race to Singapore, said shewas looking forward to getting some match wins under her belt on Sydney soil.
“The Sydney International always attracts a top quality draw so you know you’re going to have to bring your A-game from the outset, no matter who you’re playing,” America’s top ranked player Stephens said.
“I really enjoyed playing earlier this year, and it was also fun seeing some of the amazing sights around Sydney. I’m looking forward to having a strong start to the season on the court, winning some matches ahead of Melbourne and perhaps squeezing in some more sightseeing before the action starts.”
Stephens’ decision to challenge for the Sydney International title for a second time follows hot on the heels of a stellar season that saw her add a sixth title to her career haul in Miami, and reach her second Grand Slam final at Roland Garros.
Ranked No.12 in Miami in March, Stephens dispatched the then world No.3 Garbine Muguruza and world No.10 Angelique Kerber en route to the title match, before overcoming the then world No.6 Jelena Ostapenko for the trophy.
In June Stephens had world No.1 Simona Halep on the run in the French Open final, before falling in three sets.
Stephens went on to reach the Montreal final in August, where she again fell to Halep in three sets, and she reached the US Open quarterfinals in New York in September where she was bidding to defend her maiden Grand Slam title.
Tournament Director Lawrence Robertson welcomed Stephens’ return to the Sydney International.
“Sloane has backed up her US Open triumph last year by reaching another Grand Slam final and firmly establishing herself as one of the top players in the game today,” Robertson said.
“She achieved a spectacular run of results to take the title in Miami, and was equally impressive in winning her way through to the final at Roland Garros where her match against Simona Halep was one of the clashes of the season.
“I’m a huge fan of Sloane’s all-round, all-action game, so I know I speak on behalf of all our fans when I say she will be warmly received when she returns to Sydney Olympic Park in January.”