WTA Finals: Simona Halep withdraws from Singapore with back injury as Kiki Bertens joins field
World number one pulls out of season-ending event to ‘put my long-term health first’ after persistent back issue that has plagued her in Asia fails to heal in time
Simona Halep has withdrawn from the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore because of a back injury.
The Romanian, whose secured her status as the year-end number one earlier this week, revealed the news on social media on Thursday.
“Unfortunately, after much discussion with my team and doctors, I have made the decision to withdraw from the WTA Finals in Singapore,” the 27-year-old wrote in a post on Twitter.
“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.”
Halep broke her grand slam duck in 2018, winning her first major title at the French Open in June, after twice finishing runner-up at Roland Garros and once at the Australian Open.
She had been heading into Singapore as top seed but a persistent back problem saw her pull out of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow this week, after she retired just 31 minutes into her first-round match in Beijing last month.
“I’m sad I won’t be able to play the fifth and final edition [of the tournament] here in Singapore. 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.”
Halep’s withdrawal leaves a spot open, with Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber now the top seed.
The German will be joined by Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki, US Open champion Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova.
Kiki Bertens, who looked to be missing out on Singapore after a defeat by Aliaksandra Sasnovick in Moscow, is now set to take up the spot vacated by Halep.