Sloane Stephens of the United States poses with the Butch Buchholz championship trophy on Crandon Park Beach after her match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia (not pictured) during the women's singles final of the Miami Open at Tennis Center at Crandon Park.
She added: "I remember when I found out I needed surgery a year ago after the Australian Open I was so down but ultimately it gave me a different perspective".
"I think coming back to play tennis, it just - I feel so good that I'm able to compete every week".
Florida born Stephens loves Key Biscayne and added: "I will miss it and I feel very fortunate to be the last victor here".
"I knew that I was just going to have to run a lot of balls down".
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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) - Half an hour after Sloane Stephens won her hometown tournament, she lingered on the confetti-covered court, posing for photos and signing autographs as if reluctant to leave Key Biscayne.
"Everything that is special or important to me I keep at my grandparents' house", she said, a big, toothy smile emerging from beneath her baseball cap.
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The 25-year-old had a 6-2 lead in the tiebreak and needed a fourth set point to win the tiebreak at 7-5.
The match provided a fascinating contrast of styles, with Stephens content to remain largely passive, perhaps due to the amount of mistakes her more aggressive opponent was making. I wasn't swinging good at the ball. You just kind of have to accept that she's going to hit some really great shots. She will move up to No. 9 in the world.
The crowd favourite had just six winners, compared with 25 for Ostapenko, but 48 unforced errors by the Latvian and Stephens' relentless defence were the difference.
"I always play well in the US".
While the history and memories from Key Biscayne will be hard to replicate, the future of the Miami Open is bright as a new chapter begins next year at the nearby Hard Rock Stadium. "When the USTA was here, we played Orange Bowl and all sorts of tournaments here", Stephens told press post her title triumph. I have had some awesome experiences here, and I'll definitely miss it.
"I wasn't expecting a title here or anywhere, really. Hopefully I can make some dents there, as well, during the clay court season".
"Yeah, I'm just really looking forward to it".