By Ros Satar, in Singapore

  • Kiki Bertens [8] def. Naomi Osaka [3] 6-3 0-0 RET
  • Bertens qualifies but position to be determined by final round-robin match between Sloane Stephens & Angelique Kerber
SINGAPORE – Kiki Bertens advanced into the semi-finals of the WTA finals after US Open champion Naomi Osaka retired injured.


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Kiki Bertens [8] def. Naomi Osaka [3] 6-3 0-0 RET

Kiki Bertens, who only found out she had qualified for the WTA Finals on her way to the airport after a frustrating loss in Moscow advanced into the semi-finals on her debut, after Naomi Osaka had to withdraw injured after the first set.

It was Bertens exerting pressure on the taped-up Osaka in the first game, but the Japanese player fought hard to keep her at bay. Osaka was working hard, but Bertens put the hammer down to take the lead at *4-3 and in an on-court coaching time-out, Osaka’s coach Sascha Bajin told her it was her choice regarding the injury.

From that initial break it was all one-way traffic, with Bertens breaking to love to rake the first set. A lengthy medical timeout ensued but the site of Osaka in tears confirmed the worst – that she would have to pull out before starting the second set.

Naomi Osaka retires in the third round-robin match of the WTA Finals 2018, Singapore

Naomi Osaka retires in the third round-robin match of the WTA Finals 2018, Singapore | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Especially given the complications of the % game calculations that would have had to come into play for the final scenario – the rule that allows for a shortened round-robin match to result in a straight sets win clears up the situation for the second match to determine Bertens order in the group.

Bertens said, after the match: “Before the match I was quite okay. I was just, like, Okay, go out there, maybe it’s going to be your last match of the season, give it all, and then you see afterwards what’s gonna happen.

“I think it was a solid match from the beginning for both of us. Unfortunately, she had to retire. It’s never easy or never nice to win a match like this, but it is what it is. I’ll take it and I’ll take my rest, and I have some more recovery time for tomorrow.”

Bertens now owns the most Top 10 wins this season (11-6) and like in years fast, her last-gasp dash to qualify for the WTA Finals results in a spot in the semi-finals.

She continued: “For me, it always helps a lot to just play matches and to keep on going. Of course, if your body is still feeling good, it’s easier to keep on going. So, the body is still fine.

“Of course, it’s tough, like mentally also to still another step, another step. Maybe it’s every day now can be your last match of the season. Yeah, every day we give everything. I’m really happy that I can play another match tomorrow.”

Bertens will play in the semi-final on Saturday.


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