Back injury forces Simona Halep out of WTA Finals Singapore

Hannah Wilks in WTA 18 Oct 2018
  • Simona Halep has pulled out of the WTA Finals Singapore
  • The world no. 1 sustained a back injury in Wuhan which has kept her off the court
  • Kiki Bertens replaces Halep as the eighth player in the Singapore field
Simona Halep has pulled out of the WTA Finals Singapore due to a back injury (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP)

Simona Halep has pulled out of the WTA Finals Singapore and ended her season due to a back injury.

World no. 1 Simona Halep announced on Thursday that she would be unable to compete at the year-end championships, the WTA Finals Singapore. 

Halep was due to lead the field at the fifth biggest event of the season in women's tennis, which begins in Singapore on Sunday 21 October. It is the fifth consecutive year she has qualified for the season-ending tournament and the French Open champion had also secured the year-end world no. 1 ranking for the second time. 

But Halep has struggled to recover from a herniated disc in her back, and finds herself unable to get fit in time to play the WTA Finals Singapore. 

'Unfortunately, after much discussion with my team and doctors, I have made the decision to withdraw from the WTA Finals in Singapore,' Halep wrote in a statement posted on social media.

'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-time health first.'

Halep in action at the WTA Finals Singapore in 2017 (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Halep will be replaced in the field by world no. 10 Kiki Bertens, whose defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Moscow's VTB Kremlin Cup on Wednesday had seemingly ended her hopes of making her WTA Finals debut while ensuring that Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova would be returning to the tournament.

Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber will now replace Halep as top seed.

Halep, who reached the final of the WTA Finals Singapore on her first appearance at the season-ending championships in 2014, sustained the injury during a practice session before the Wuhan Open, and has been struggling since. She lost to Dominika Cibulkova 0-6, 5-7 in Wuhan, retired at the China Open after losing the first set to Ons Jabeur 1-6, and although she flew to Moscow to compete in the Kremlin Cup, pulled out before the tournament began to be replaced by a lucky loser.

It's a sad ending to what has been the best season of Halep's career. The 27-year-old Romanian started 2018 by making the final of the Australian Open for the first time, losing a marathon match to Caroline Wozniacki, and went on to win her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open, defeating Sloane Stephens in three sets in the final. Halep also won titles at the Shenzhen Open and the Rogers Cup in Montreal, winning 18 of 19 matches played between the Rome final and the Cincinnati final. 

But her loss to Bertens in the Cincinnati final would end that winning run and Halep hasn't won a match since, losing in the first round of the US Open to Kaia Kanepi before suffering the back injury during the Asian swing.

'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,' Halep's statement continued.

'Singapore is a special city and I'm sure the fans will enjoy seeing some fantastic women's tennis this week.'

With Halep's withdrawal, the field is as follows:

1. Angelique Kerber
2. Caroline Wozniacki
3. Naomi Osaka
4. Petra Kvitova
5. Sloane Stephens
6. Elina Svitolina
7. Karolina Pliskova
8. Kiki Bertens

Wozniacki, the defending champion, and 2011 winner Kvitova are the only two players to have triumphed at the WTA Finals Singapore in the past while three of the four - US Open champion Osaka, French Open runner-up Stephens and Bertens - will be making their debut at the season-ending championships.

The draw, which will take place on Friday 19 October, will divide the eight players into two groups of four led by Kerber and Wozniacki. 

*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify

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Back injury forces Simona Halep out of WTA Finals Singapore

Kiki Bertens replaces the world no. 1 in the field at the year-end championships as Simona Halep's herniated disc injury causes her to pull out of the WTA Finals Singapore and end her season

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