Injured Simona Halep pulls out of WTA Finals

No Williams, no Halep, but end-of-year showpiece looks no less compelling

"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", the 27-year-old Romanian said on Twitter.

The French Open champion pulled out of last month s China Open after just 31 minutes, and withdrew from this week s Kremlin Cup because of the persistent problem.

The world No. 10 had defeated Halep in August to win the biggest title of her career at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. To withdraw from major tournaments is never easy. Halep sustained the injury - a herniated disc - in training last month and hasn't practised or played tennis in the last four weeks.

As Singapore's five-year association with the multi-million dollar WTA Finals reaches its final leg from Sunday until October 28, exciting times are ahead for boys and girls from the Asia-Pacific region to be part of the popular prelude that is the WTA Future Stars.

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Her withdrawal means that Kiki Bertens from the Netherlands moves into the eighth and final qualifying spot in the WTA Finals. "So it was a tough decision but it's better for my health", WTA quoted Halep, as saying. "I love Singapore, I have had great memories here", she said. "So I am definitely sad to see it go, but at the same time, it's had any fantastic run and the five years, I think they have done an incredible job".

It has been a disappointing end to a spectacular season for Halep, which saw her secure the year-end No. 1 ranking in the WTA standings for the second year running.

Elina Svitolina won all three of her finals on the WTA circuit in the 2018 season.

Previously qualified for the Championships TOP 8 were tennis players Simona Halep (Romania), Angelique Kerber (Germany), Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark), Naomi Osaka (Japan), Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) and Sloane Stephens (USA).

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