Injured Simona Halep Withdraws From WTA Finals - UBITENNIS
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Injured Simona Halep Withdraws From WTA Finals

Despite travelling to Singapore, the Romanian has decided to end her season to recovery from an ongoing injury.

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World No.1 Simona Halep has ended her season after withdrawing from the upcoming WTA Finals due to a back injury.

The French Open champion confirmed her withdrawal during an interview with WTA Insider’s Courtney Nguyen. In recent weeks Halep has been hampered by a back problem that has forced her out of tournaments in China and Russia. Earlier this month, an MRI concluded that she has a herniated disc.

“The decision was tough for sure,” Halep told WTA Insider about her decision. “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.
“Darren was 100% to withdraw because he’s worried about the back and it’s better to put the health first, always. He always did that with me since we started. So he was more sure than me that we had to pull out. Then when I heard that he agreed with this it was easier for me to take the decision.”

On Tuesday the 27-year-old pulled out of the Kremlin Cup. Casting doubts over her presence at the season-ending event. Nevertheless, Halep travelled with her coach to Singapore hopeful that she could participate. However, she has ruled herself out of the tournament because her back is still ‘sore.’

“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.” She explained.

Halep has featured in the WTA Finals four years in a row between 2014-2017. She has only managed to progress beyond the group stages once with a run to the final at the 2014 tournament.

The Romanian ends her season with a win-loss record of 46-11 on the tour. During 2018 Halep won her first grand slam title at the French Open after defeating Sloane Stephens in the final. She was also runner-up to Caroline at the Australian Open. Outside of the majors, she has won two titles on the WTA Tour. Triumphing at the Shenzhen Open in China and at the Canadian Open in Montreal. Halep will end the year as world No.1 regardless of what happens at next week’s WTA Finals.

Replacing Halep in the tournament with be Kiki Bertens. The world No.10 is set to be the first Dutch player to play in the event since Brenda Schultz-McCarthy back in 1997. 26-year-old Bertens is currently at a ranking high of 10th in the world. She is one of six players to have won three or more titles on the WTA Tour this season. Claiming trophies in Charleston, Cincinnati and Seoul.

The WTA Finals will get underway on Monday at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The draw ceremony will take place on Friday.

List of qualified players

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

WTA

Daria Kasatkina Continues To Struggle As Seeds Tumble In Miami

Daria Kasatkina lost her seventh match of the year to Venus Williams, while Mertens, Sevastova and Collins were also knocked out.

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When she arrived in Miami last year, Daria Kasatkina had already won 13 matches and had just played in the biggest final of her career at Indian Wells.

This time, it was a very different story, as she started her second round match in search of only her fourth win of the year.

Encouragingly, the Russian beat 15-year-old star-of-the-future Cori Gauff 6-3 6-2 to give herself something to build on.

But the optimism did not last long. Kasatkina failed to hold serve at any time during her humbling 6-3 6-1 loss to Venus Williams.

It was an extraordinary performance for all the wrong reasons, and it is easy to imagine just how depressed the Russian will be feeling about it.

Furthermore, the ease of the scoreline does not make sense when compared to the players’ three previous encounters.

All those matches, at Wimbledon, Indian Wells and Auckland respectively, were closely-fought contests that went the distance. In addition, Kasatkina won two of them, which makes the contrast even starker.

Given this evidence, it is clear something is not right with the Russian, and she will need to find a way of regaining her form soon to avoid a dramatic slide down the rankings.

Mertens, Sevastova and Collins Crash Out

In February, Elise Mertens produced the best tennis of her life to beat Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep and claim her first Premier title in Doha.

Since then, she has suffered one first-round loss and two second-round losses. The latest of those came today against Marketa Vondrousova.

It was a close encounter, and there was nothing to choose between the two players until the Czech teenager earned a break in the ninth game to move 5-4 ahead.

The second set was even tighter. Both players served better to take it all the way to a tie-break, which Vondrousova won.

Anastasija Sevastova also experienced an unexpected loss. She was defeated 1-6 6-2 6-3 by Yulia Putintseva.

Although she played well in the first set and a half, she was unable to sustain that level throughout the match and her Kazakhstani opponent took full advantage.

Danielle Collins became the third seeded casualty of the day when she lost 7-5 6-1 to rising star Wang Yafan.

The Chinese player has enjoyed an extraordinary recent run of results. She beat Donna Vekic and Sofia Kenin en route to her first WTA title in Acapulco.

Wang then beat Kristina Mladenovic and Elina Svitolina, both in straight sets, to set up a meeting with Collins. In the last 16, she will face the highest-ranked player from her country: Wang Qiang.

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Angelique Kerber Exits Miami By Branding Andreescu A ‘Drama Queen’

It was a very frosty ending to the match between the two at the Hard Rock Stadium.

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Angelique Kerber (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Angelique Kerber’s run at the 2019 Miami Open won’t be remembered so much for tennis, but for the words she said following her final match.

The two-time grand slam champion bowed out 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, in the third round on Saturday night to Bianca Andreescu. Suffering her second loss to the Canadian in as many weeks following their clash in the final at Indian Wells. During what was a tense encounter between those two, the match was overshadowed by a frosty handshake at the end. During which Kerber called the 18-year-old “the biggest drama queen ever.

Questioned about the comment afterwards, world No.24 Andreescu said she didn’t hear what was said at the time. She is now on a 10-match winning streak and is undefeated against top 10 opposition this year. Andreescu ended 2018 ranked 178th in the world.

“She said something, but I’m not sure what,” New York Times journalist Ben Rothenberg quoted her as saying. “I just didn’t say anything, whatever, I’m not trying to focus on that. I’ll just let my tennis talk.”

It is unclear as to what lead up to the jibe from Kerber. During their match in Indian Wells, Andressce requested a medical time out during the deciding set. Something that might have been interpreted as a tactical time out. However, the teenager did have a couple minor injury issues coming into that match. Nevertheless, Kerber praised her afterwards.

“She played good, especially in the third set. When she had the chances, she just goes for it. Yeah, she put the balls in the court. At the end, she deserved to win.” The German said.
“She played the whole tournament good. I know that I had to play my best tennis. But, yeah, at the end, I was not able to take my chances, but she did it.” Kerber added.

Following her latest loss, Journalist Jannik Schneider described Kerber as ‘downhearted’ as she addressed the media in the mixed zone at the Miami Open. Revealing that the 31-year-old currently has some sort of thigh issue, but it is unclear how severe it is. Could Kerber’s words be out of frustration and nothing other than that?


Next up for Andreescu will be Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in the fourth round.

 

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Injured Serena Williams Quits Miami

It is bad news for the former world No.1.

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Serena Williams (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Miami Open on Saturday after battling through a roller-coaster second round clash on the previous day.

A statement confirmed that the former world No.1 has been forced out of the tournament due to a left knee injury. Williams made her debut at the tournament this year on Friday with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1, win over Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson. She is an eight-time champion in Miami, which moved to the Hard Rock Stadium this year. However, her last triumph was back in 2015.

“I am disappointed to withdraw from the Miami Open due to a left knee injury,” Williams said in a press release. “It was an amazing experience to play at the Hard Rock Stadium this year and I would like to thank the Miami Open for putting on an amazing event. I hope to be back next year to play at this one-of-a-king tournament in front of the incredible fans here in Miami.”

It is the second consecutive tournament, which the American player has been forced to retire from. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Williams retired during her match against Garbine Muguruza due to a viral illness.

“It’s definitely not easy at all. But I’m through it. That’s that. I just got to get my game back to where I know it can be.” She said commented recovering from the illness on Friday.

No details have been released about the severity of the issue. The 37-year-old has been hampered by numerous issues with her knees throughout her career. Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, once said her knee cartilage “was not gone, not all of it, but a big part.” It was a left knee problem that forced Williams out of the 2017 edition of Indian Wells.

As a consequence, China’s Wang Qiang has received a walkover into the fourth round in Miami. Wang will play either compatriot Wang Yafan or Australian Open semi-finalist Danielle Collins.

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