ZHUHAI, China - Leading 5-0 in the opening set, Barbora Strycova ended her 2017 season with a premature victory as US Open champion Sloane Stephens retired to close out round robin play at the Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai.
The Czech thus finishes group play in the Camellia Group in second with a 1-1 record, while Stephens finishes third behind semifinal qualifier Anastasija Sevastova.
Strycova won her second career WTA title at the Upper Austria Ladies' Linz this fall, and will end her season as the Czech No.2 in the rankings behind Karolina Pliskova.
Stephens has not won a match since her shock US Open triumph in New York, stumbling in straight sets in opening matches in Wuhan and Beijing, before also falling to Sevastova this week.
The American's season has not yet officially come to a close, as the 2017 WTA Comeback Player of the Year was tabbed on Thursday as a member of the United States Fed Cup team which will travel to Minsk to face Belarus in the final next weekend.
She joins CoCo Vandeweghe, who's into the semifinals in Zhuhai, Alison Riske and Shelby Rogers on the team.
More to come...