"It's definitely a very special moment for me".
From there Stephens found her footing and seventh-seeded Pliskova began to derail.
Pliskova's first serve deserted her as a composed Stephens forced a decider and her momentum continued by capturing a break to open the third set.
"Then I lost that second game in the third set where I was just struggling a little bit but bounced back straightaway".
"At 6-0 2-0 you don't have anything to lose, so you can kind of do whatever at that point and hope for the best".
Svitolina could rise three spots to world number four on the rankings after capturing her fourth title of the year.
Pliskova was only a point away from a 3-0 lead in the second set. "Obviously, I knew playing Kaja [Pliskova] was going to be a really tough match".
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The shock waves started at the Australian Open, where Caroline Wozniacki finally punched through to win her first major (Note to Svitolina haters: Wozniacki's springboard to the title was her win at the 2017 WTA Finals).
Everyone was talking about Elina Svitolina as the WTA Finals were about to get underway, but not the way they are now that she won the title with a gritty three-set win on Sunday over Sloane Stephens.
Svitolina fell onto her back on the court in celebration, and then shared a hug with Stephens. I just want to forget being in training and I do not want to think about anything: not about opponents or the flights to the next tournament.
"There's still lots of work ahead", said sixth-seeded Svitolina. "It's going to be very, very tough - but it will be my last match of the season, so I will leave everything out on the court", the 24-year-old world No. 7 added.
Bertens double-faulted on break and set point down, and she frustratingly threw her racquet down in disgust after conceding the set in that fashion.
Svitolina has looked on a mission at the WTA Finals in an effort to make amends for a lacklustre early exit a year ago.
In the second semifinal of the tournament will battle Sloane Stephens (USA) and Carolina Plskova (Czech Republic).