WTA Finals 2018: Simona Halep’s Montreal title seals first place in WTA Finals in Singapore
World No1 Simona Halep seals her place at the year-end finale in Singapore for the 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals
World No1 Simona Halep’s superb efforts to claim the Rogers Cup title earned her not just her second title in Montreal but the first place in the year-end finale in Singapore for the 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals.
The Canadian final was a rematch of the 2018 Roland Garros final between two of the reigning Major champions, the French Open winner Halep, and US Open champion and world No3, Sloane Stephens.
Halep had to save four set points to win the opener, 7-6(6), before Stephens hit back to win the second, 6-3, but Halep sealed the title after two hours 41 minutes, 6-4.
She now leads No2 Caroline Wozniacki, Australian Open champion, by almost 2,000 points, though it is Angelique Kerber, the Wimbledon champion, who is second in the Race to Singapore.
2018 will be Halep’s fifth consecutive appearance at the WTA Finals, the only player to have qualified for all five editions of the tournament held in Singapore—and it moves next year to Shenzhen, China.
On her debut in 2014, the Romanian reached the final, defeating then-world No1 Serena Williams in the group stage before falling to the American in the championship match. This year, however, Williams is well down the ranks at 27 as she continues to work her way back to form and fitness after giving birth to her daughter less than a year ago.
Halep is enjoying a career-best season, which she began as world No1. She started 2018 with a title sweep—singles and doubles—at the Shenzhen Open, lost the No1 rank to Wozniacki after Australia despite being runner-up in Melbourne, but regained the top spot at the end of February—and has stayed there ever since. She made the final of the Rome Premier before going on to win her first Major at Roland Garros at her third attempt, beating four top-20 players on her way to the title.
Of her qualification for Singapore, she said:
“It is such an honour to qualify again for the WTA Finals in Singapore. I love coming to Singapore and I have so many great memories. I can’t wait to be back and play my best tennis in front of the amazing fans.”
The WTA Finals are held at the Singapore Sports Hub from between 21 and 28 October, where the best eight singles and doubles teams battle for $7 million in prize money. The singles players compete in a round-robin format with the winner taking home the Billie Jean King Trophy. The doubles teams compete in a knock-out format for the WTA Finals Martina Navratilova Trophy.
The Singapore standings:
1 Simona Halep
2 Angelique Kerber
3 Caroline Wozniacki
4 Petra Kvitova
5 Elina Svitolina
6 Sloane Stephens
7 Daria Kasatkina
8 Elise Mertens
9 Karolina Pliskova
10 Julia Goerges
11 Garbine Muguruza
12 Kiki Bertens
13 Jelena Ostapenko
14 Naomi Osaka
15 Mihaela Buzarnescu
16 Caroline Garcia