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World number one Simona Halep withdraws from WTA Finals in Singapore

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Women’s world number one Tennis player Simona Halep has pulled out of next week’s WTA Finals due to a lower back injury to hand first alternate Kiki Bertens her spot at the eight-woman event in Singapore.

“The decision was tough for sure,” the Romanian was quoted as saying by Reuters on Thursday.

“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.”

Halep enjoyed a stellar 2018 season that saw her reach a first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open before winning her maiden Slam at the French Open. But Halep suffered an injury while training ahead of the Wuhan Open last month and after an MRI it was found that she has been diagnosed with a herniated disc.

“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,” she said on Twitter after announcing that she won’t be taking part at the WTA Finals in Singapore.

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“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.”

Despite withdrawing from Singapore, Halep though is guaranteed to end 2018 as world number one for the second consecutive year.

Bertens, who made the cut following Halep’s injury, will make her debut at the WTA Finals. The 26-year-old will be the first Dutchwoman to compete at the season-ending showpiece in more than 20 years, since Brenda Schultz-McCarthy lost in the first round in 1997, reported the news agency.

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The 26-year-old Dutchwoman has also enjoyed a fairly successful season this year and apart from reaching the quarter-finals at the Wimbledon singles, she has also won three tournaments including the Cincinnati Masters title, where she beat Halep in the final.

Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina are the other female Tennis players, who have also qualified for the $7 million event.

Image Source: Getty