By Ros Satar, in Singapore
- Simona Halep withdraws from the 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore
- Secured the Year-End No. 1 spot earlier this month
- Kiki Bertens takes the final spot
SINGAPORE – Simona Halep ends the year with the No. 1 spot secured but had to withdraw from the season-ending championships with a back injury.
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Simona Halep withdraws ahead of WTA Finals
In what has been a landmark year once more for Simona Halep, it ended sadly with her having to withdraw from the WTA Finals in Singapore. Halep has been troubled with a back injury – a herniated disc – since the start of the Asian swing.
She said, in a statement: “Unfortunately, after much discussion with my team and doctors, I have made the decision to withdraw from the WTA Finals in Singapore. I wanted to finish 2018 on a high after such an incredible year, but sadly my back injury hasn’t healed the way we hoped it would and I need to put my long-term health first.
“I’m sad I won’t be able to play the fifth and final edition here in Singapore, but I’m confident this is the right decision and will do everything I can to be back fighting for my place at the WTA Finals next year. Singapore is a special city and I’m sure the fans will enjoy seeing some fantastic women’s tennis this week.”
Kiki Bertens qualifies
Just a day before, Kiki Bertens’ hopes of qualifying as of right were crushed in a battle with Aliaksandra Sasnovich. The frustration had been evident at the end of a taut tree-setter as Bertens slammed her racquet into her bag – her loss had rounded out the field with Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina picking up the last two slots, and leaving Bertens as the first alternate.
Bertens broke into the Top 10 earlier this month, becoming the first Dutchwoman to do so since Brenda Schultz-McCarty in 1996. She makes her singles debut after a standout year where she won her biggest title to date in Cincinnati, as well as titles in Charleston, Seoul and a run to the Madrid final. However, this is not her first time in Singapore, having made the doubles field in 2017, partnering Johanna Larsson, reaching the final.
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Halep wraps up the Year-end No. 1
Earlier this month, Halep secured the 2018 WTA Year-end World No. 1 singles ranking. Halep won three titles in Shenzhen, Montreal and of course won her maiden Slam at Roland Garros, after narrowly losing the Australian Open final at the start of the year. Her performances this year saw her achieve qualification for the season ending championships for the fifth straight year – the only player to have done so in the championship’s run here.
“Finishing the season as the WTA World No.1 last year was a huge honour for me,” she said. “To do it for a second time in 2018 feels like a special achievement, especially having also won my first Grand Slam this year. To be able to see my name again alongside the other legends who have achieved the year-end No.1 ranking makes me very proud.”
The WTA Finals take place between 21-28 October.
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