ST PETERSBURG, FL, USA – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced today that Simona Halep has withdrawn from the 2018 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global due to a lower back injury.

As a result, Kiki Bertens qualifies for the final spot, joining Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens, Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina in Singapore for the $7 million showpiece set to take place from October 21-28, 2018.

“Unfortunately, after much discussion with my team and doctors, I have made the decision to withdraw from the WTA Finals in Singapore,” said Halep. “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. I’m sad I won’t be able to play the fifth and final edition here in Singapore, but I’m confident this is the right decision and will do everything I can to be back fighting for my place at the WTA Finals next year. Singapore is a special city and I’m sure the fans will enjoy seeing some fantastic women’s tennis this week.”

Kiki Bertens with the Western & Southern Open trophy (Jimmie48/WTA)

Bertens is set to make her first singles qualification berth in Singapore after a standout season. The Dutchwoman captured the biggest title of her career at the Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati), where she defeated Halep in the final. She also picked up titles at the Volvo Car Open (Charleston) and the Korea Open (Seoul), and made a run to the final at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Earlier this month, Bertens broke into the WTA Top 10 to become the first woman from the Netherlands to reach this milestone in 22 years, when Brenda Schultz-McCarthy did so in 1996.

Bertens will make her second appearance in Singapore, having competed in the doubles field in 2017 alongside Sweden’s Johanna Larsson. As the No.8 seeds, the pair reached the championship match, falling to Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Timea Babos.

“I’m very happy with my season and to finish it off at the WTA Finals is the ultimate
prize,” said Bertens. “I have great memories in Singapore from reaching the
doubles final last year. I look forward to being back to compete in front of the
amazing crowd.”