Simona Halep Secures Year-End No.1, But Presence At WTA Finals In Doubt - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep Secures Year-End No.1, But Presence At WTA Finals In Doubt

The French Open champion has given an update about her latest injury.

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Romania’s Simona Halep will officially end the season as world No.1 for the second year in a row as she current deals with an ongoing injury issue.

The 27-year-old is the 13th player in history to have finished at the top of the WTA rankings. It is the second consecutive time Halep has done so and the first time a player has achieved the double since Serena Williams (2014 and 2015). 2018 has seen Halep win her first ever grand slam title at the French Open when she defeated Sloane Stephens in the final. She was also runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open. Outside of the majors, she has also won titles in Shenzhen, China and Montreal, Canada. Resulting in Halep’s win-loss record on the tour this year currently standing at 46-11.

“Finishing the season as the WTA World No.1 last year was a huge honor for me,” Halep told wtatennis.com. “To do it for a second time in 2018 feels like a special achievement, especially having also won my first Grand Slam this year. To be able to see my name again alongside the other legends who have achieved the year-end No.1 ranking makes me very proud.”

Halep is guaranteed to stay at the top of the rankings until at least January. When the 2018 season ends, she would have spent 53 weeks as world No.1. The tenth longest stint in the history of women’s tennis. Surpassing Victoria Azarenka (51 weeks), Amelie Mauresmo (39 weeks), Maria Sharapova (21 weeks) and Kim Clijsters (20 weeks).

“These girls were my idols and my role models,” Halep told reporters in Moscow. “They inspired me all the time. So to be up there means a lot and gives me confidence that I was able to do something huge in tennis. It makes me proud.”

Halep first topped the WTA rankings in October 2017. She is currently ranked eighth on the all-time list for most prize money won on the WTA Tour with earnings of $27,095,579 (as of October 15th, 2018).

Injury threatens Singapore hopes

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With less than a month before the season ends for the women, Halep has admitted that she is unsure about playing at the WTA Finals in Singapore. The Romanian is currently suffering from a herniated disc in her back. She is hoping to stage a return at the Kremlin Cup this week in Moscow, but admits that it is uncertain if she will play.

“I haven’t practised 100 per cent yet but today, tomorrow, I will do close to 100,” she explained. ” I will be able to know better the next day.
“The doctor told me it’s nothing about the surgery but, if I will keep playing, there is a risk of long-term injury. I don’t need that and I don’t want that, so I have to make good decisions in the next days.”

Should she pull out of Moscow, it is unlikely that Halep will play at the WTA Finals. An end-of-year round-robin tournament that features the eight best players in the world. Halep has featured in the event every year since 2014, but has only managed to progress beyond the group stages once.

“I hope first to be able to play here (in Moscow) because … I have already three-four days getting ready for this tournament,” Halep said. “But if I will not be able to play here, I’m very doubtful that I will be able to play in Singapore because it’s very fast.
“So I don’t know now but, for sure, I will take a decision for my health first.”

The WTA Finals will get underway on October 21st. It will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

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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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