Kerber's loss in Beijing might have locked Halep in as year-end No. 1

by: Matt Cronin | November 21, 2018

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Angelique Kerber's defeat in the semifinals of Beijing might have allowed Simona Halep to clinch the No. 1 ranking for the season.  

The No. 3-ranked Kerber fell to Shuai Zhang, and is now more than 1,500 points behind Halep going into the WTA Finals in Singapore. Kerber would now have to take a wild card into Moscow to challenge Halep for the top spot at Singapore, and has not said she plans to play the event.

And Halep, who withdrew from Beijing with a back injury and appeared questionable for the WTA Finals, now says she will play Singapore and has also taken a wild card for Moscow, though her appearance there is not confirmed.

Kerber will go home to Europe and then return to Asia to play at the WTA Finals in a week and a half. Even if she is not playing for the No. 1 ranking, Kerber says she is very motivated to finish the season on a good note at Singapore.

“Right now I am feeling that I will go home, have few days off, and then getting ready for Singapore. I know that I have one more tournament to go, and I will put everything in the next tournament what I have left in my body, in my mind, mentally and everything, try to compete on my best in Singapore,” Kerber said.

Both players have won Grand Slams this season. Kerber got her third Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, while Halep won her first at the French Open. It would be the second straight season that Halep has finished holding the top ranking.

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