Svitolina has failed to go beyond the quarter-finals of a grand slam, but showed she can handle the pressure of the big stage in what was the last edition of the tournament to be staged in Singapore.
Stephens gifted Pliskova an immediate break back by sending a lazy backhand long, but a double fault returned the initiative to the world number six and she held firm to force a decisive set.
Svitolina has a complete baseline game - consistency has been her watch word for many years now and she can trade both with the power players and those with a little more precision and placement, thanks to her movement around the court, and more importantly her ability to smack winners on the run. "This is going to bring a lot of confidence, as I have finished the season on a high note".
Stephens reached the final by fighting back to beat Karolina Pliskova 0-6 6-4 6-1 in the second semi-final. Here I am in the final, so it's something that's.a really special moment for me, and I think definitely for the future it's something that I can be proud of.
Sloane Stephens of US reacts during the singles final against Ukraine's Elina Svitolina.
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Bertens battled back as she broke in the opening game of the second set but Svitolina took the tenth game to make it 5-5 before taking the set into a tie-break and Bertens levelled the match.
It was a matchup of similar styles between the athletic counterpunchers and lengthy rallies punctuated the contest.
Serving for her place in the final, Svitolina saved two break points before shutting Bertens down.
The Bertens forehand once again did the damage as her return found the corner, and Svitolina could not retrieve it in time.
"I haven't been home since the US Open", she said. Svitolina addressed the "haters" and those who commented that she had no right to be in this line-up by emerging from the group 3-0.
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She has won her past nine finals on the WTA Tour and not lost one in the last two seasons.
"Unfortunately, this is the previous year that Singapore is hosting this incredible tournament".
This year is the first time since the round-robin format was reintroduced in 2003 that none of the top four seeded players - No. 1 Angelique Kerber, No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 3 Osaka and No. 4 Petra Kvitova - reached the semifinals.
The No.6 seed wore down Bertens to advance with a 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-4 victory in two hours and 38 minutes.
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