This is the last time that Singapore is hosting the 7 million U.S. dollars event of WTA Finals as it would be shifted to Shenzhen next year.
By Hamad Hussain
KARACHI, Oct. 18, 2018 (SNN247.com) — Romania’s world number one Simona Halep announced on Thursday to pull out of the year-ending WTA Finals due to a lower back injury that has hampered the tail end of her season.
Simona Halep’s loss is Kiki Bertens’ gain as the Dutch player got the chance as the first alternate to feature for the first time in the eight-woman event to be held in Singapore for the first time.
The Romanian tennis queen said in a Twitter post on Thursday, “The decision was tough for sure.”
Simona Halep, 27, sustained the back injury during her training for the Wuhan Open in China last month, which was later diagnosed as the herniated disc.
Simona Halep posted, “It’s always difficult to withdraw from a big tournament. Actually, I think it’s the first time in my life. So it was a tough decision but it’s better for my health. My back is not ok. I didn’t practice for the last four weeks. I’m not ready to compete at this level and I’m still sore. It’s not easy to go on court and compete at this moment.”
Simona Halep will still end the ongoing season as the world number one despite missing out on the chance to play the WTA Finals. During the rewarding season, Halep made it to the Australian Open final before clinching her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open.
Talking about her ambition to end the year as the top player in the world, Halep said, “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.”
Expressing her disappointment on the injury just at the wrong time, Halep said, “I’m sad I won’t be able to play the fifth and final edition in Singapore, but I’m confident this is the right decision and will do everything I can to be back fighting 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.”
This is the second straight year that Simona Halep will end the year on top of the world.
Kiki Bertens of The Netherlands has been selected as Halep’s replacement in the tournament which features eight top players in the world. Bertens finished ninth in the race to Singapore standings but as the lady luck has smiled over her, she is set to make her WTA Finals debut this year.
Bertens is the first Dutch tennis player to feature in the season-finale showdown in over 20 years. The last Dutch player to have featured in the WTA Finals was Brenda Schultz-McCarthy who had qualified in 1997.
Kiki Bertens has also enjoyed a reasonable season this year as she has put her hands on three titles, including a famous victory over Simona Halep to clinch the Cincinnati Masters title in the United States of America.
This is the last time that Singapore is hosting the 7 million U.S. dollars event as it would be shifted to Shenzhen next year. The top eight players in the WTA Rankings, including Angelique Kerber of Germany, Naomi Osaka of Japan, Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, Sloane Stephens of the United States, Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, and Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, will battle it out for the top honors in the year-ending tournament.