Stephens takes Charleston title

Seventh seed Sloane Stephens beat resurgent Russian Elena Vesnina 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 to clinch the title on Sunday.

Sloane Stephens clinched her third title of the year.   -  AP

American Sloane Stephens won her third WTA title of 2016 on Sunday, beating resurgent Russian Elena Vesnina 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Stephens, 23, was the seventh seed in the clay court tournament.

En route to the title match she saved a match point against Russian Daria Kasatkina in the quarterfinals, and she reached the final after top seed and defending champion Angelique Kerber, the reigning Australian Open champion, withdrew with illness while trailing in their semifinal contest.

It's a reversal of fortune in Charleston for Stephens, where she was 1-5 in prior appearances. Vesnina, a former World No. 21 who reached the Charleston final in 2011, reached the title match this year as a qualifier.

She toppled second-seeded Swiss Belinda Bencic in the second round, and is projected to rise from 85th into the top 55 of the world rankings thanks to her run.