For the second straight season, Simona Halep added another incredible honor to her year-end spot at the top of the WTA Rankings: the title of WTA Fan Favorite.
The World No.1 from Romania is the winner of the fan-based poll to determine the 2018 WTA Fan Favorite, defending her title from last year as the top vote-getter.
Only four women have been named Fan Favorite in the ten-year history of the award. Russians Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva each claimed the prize once before recently-retired Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland reeled off six straight crowns from 2011 to 2016.
Halep's legions of supporters, who appear in droves at tournaments all over the globe to spur on the top-ranked player with their chants of "Si-mo-na," were rewarded for their devotion in 2018 with another splendid year by their heroine.
Halep reached a third career major final at the Australian Open before winning her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. The Romanian also picked up trophies at the Rogers Cup and the Shenzhen Open, ending the season at World No.1 for the second straight year despite suffering a back injury as 2018 came to a close.
As far back as 2015, Halep was indebted to her vocal and loyal supporters. "They are coming everywhere I play, so that's amazing," she said at the time. "There are many, many people in the crowd, so it's just amazing. It's really nice to hear your name between the points. It's nice to have people supporting you everywhere."
"I want to thank Romania for everything it has given me so far. I hope this trophy is the beginning of a new generation of champions. I don't want to leave this scene, it's too beautiful. Thank you and my heart is with you" - a very emotional Simona Halep.
📽: Digi Sport pic.twitter.com/fxKJZ1LeOS
— Ramona Toderaş (@RamonaToderas) June 11, 2018
Even just prior to the 2018 Roland Garros final, arguably the signature match of her career to date, Halep knew that she had the support -- as well as the wishes -- of her numerous fans behind her. "I will play for the fans from all over the world, because I know that many are hoping for me to win this Grand Slam finally."
"I will put everything I have Saturday on the court," Halep continued, after her semifinal win in Paris. "I will think that I will make many people happy."
Halep went on to win her first major title over Sloane Stephens in three sets. Proving that she made many people happy, her triumph was celebrated by 15,000 fans at the Bucharest National Stadium in her home country.