Halep to end 2018 as world number one

Sloane Stephens

Sloane Stephens has qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore after it was confirmed Elina Svitolina will not play a tournament in the coming week.

Halep has played in 15 tournaments so far in 2018, but she followed up her first major title by losing in the third round at Wimbledon.

The triumph was bittersweet for Halep, 27, as she had announced on October 2 that a herniated disc injury to her back was the reason behind her first-round exit from the China Open, after having won her debut Grand Slam title at the French Open in June, reports Efe.

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Sloane is now ranked 8th but things didn't look that bright for her at the start of the season, winning just three matches in the first four tournaments she played in 2018 before claiming six wins in Miami to lift the title, her biggest after that US Open triumph in 2017. She has been at the top of the rankings for almost the entire year even though her results suffered as the season wore on.

"I'm honoured to qualify for my first WTA Finals", said Stephens, who was runner-up to Halep at Roland Garros earlier this year. She then lost in the first round at the U.S. Open.

Both Pliskova and Bertens could move in front of Svitolina with good runs in Moscow, but she will qualify if either does not. "I'm looking forward to meeting the fantastic fans in Singapore, exploring the city, and competing against the best players of the season", Stephens was quoted by the WTA website as saying. So it's pretty stressful but somehow it's normal because injuries are pretty normal when you play at the highest level. "I want just to be better and ready to play the tournament". "The back is always hard, but I have to accept it and to look forward".

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