It was only on Wednesday when the eight best players of the year finally confirmed their places in Singapore. Kiki Bertens had lost in a tough three set match against Sasnovich, meaning that Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina could at last sigh a breath of relief–until a spanner was thrown into the works. The World #1 Halep decided to pull out of one of the biggest events of the year, making way for the Dutch woman.
Things started to turn sour for the Romanian as she lost in the Cincinnati final to Bertens. Not only was this a disappointment for her, but also triggered a chain of losses that would ultimately end her year. She withdrew from the Connecticut Open to prepare for New York, but lost in the first round to Kanepi. Hoping to put the loss behind her, she went to Wuhan – only to be given a bagel by Cibulkova. Then she played in Beijing, this time however she retired after losing the first set to Ons Jabeur. Initially, she hoped to participate in Moscow, but after withdrawing once again, we knew something was wrong.
Despite this, she made her intentions clear that she would still head to Singapore to end on a high. Yet, on Thursday she finally confirmed her withdrawal from the tournament, citing ongoing injuries. This was due to a herniated disc, essentially a spinal cord injury. Commenting on the withdrawal, she stated, “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.”
Although she must have been frustrated at first, Bertens can finally smile now, She has had a breakthrough year, and has proven her abilities beyond clay courts. She has been consistent all year long and finally looked at ease on the grass and hard courts. Her highlights include her amazing run to winning the Cincinnati final, making the Rome final and Wimbledon quarterfinals. She also won in Charleston and Seoul.
However, with that being said, the Dutch player has not won big matches much since Seoul. She lost in the second round in Wuhan, Linz and Moscow and third round in Beijing. It’s clear that her busy year has taken a toll on her physically. She is not used to playing many matches and will surely be exhausted at the end of the year. Although she is very dangerous, her recent form may mean she will struggle in Singapore, as she will always have to face quality opponents.
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