ACAPULCO, Mexico - Sloane Stephens needed just 54 minutes to cruise to her second WTA final of the year after an uncomplicated victory over No.8 seed Yanina Wickmayer at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, 6-2, 6-0.
The pair had faced off only once before, with Stephens coming out the victor of a straight forward 6-1, 6-3 match at the Miami Open. This encounter would prove to be no more difficult for the 22-year-old American.
"Obviously playing in the semifinals of any tournament is going to be tough," Stephens said of her commanding victory. "Fortunately today I played some really solid tennis and played really well. It was a good day for me."
Stephens set the pace early on, breaking and holding at love to give herself some breathing room at 4-1. The Belgian wasn't displaying any of the form that saw her come back from two points away from defeat in the first round or upset Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarterfinals. Wickmayer was spraying errors off both wings, finally shooting a forehand long to give Stephens set point, which she seal with a powerful forehand.
Stephens played a near perfect second set, overpowering the increasingly frustrated Wickmayer in a 6-0 shutout, not facing a single break point and winning every one of her first serve points.
"I'm feeling good and I'm excited to be back in another final," Stephens said. "I'm playing well so I'm excited to get back on court tomorrow and compete."
At this time last year, Stephens was facing a disappointing string of first and second round losses - including one in the first round here in Acapulco. Now in 2016, she's already got a title under her belt and is into her second final of the year. What's changed for the 22-year-old?
"I'm just in a different place," Stephens said. "I've played a lot of matches this year already and got some of the confidence going, built up some momentum. I'm just trying to keep that going here in Acapulco."
Stephens is set to play against 2014 Acapulco winner Dominika Cibulkova in tomorrow's final. Their head to head is tied at 1-1, with Cibulkova coming away the winner of their most recent encounter at Toronto last year.