BEIJING: World number two Simona Halep lasted less than a set before retiring injured at the China Open on Sunday, plunging her appearance at the year-ending WTA Finals into doubt.
Halep and Petra Kvitova, who was playing on painkillers and suffering the ongoing effects of glandular fever, both crashed out as the China Open lost its top two women’s seeds in the first round.
“My first thought is just to be healthy,” said Halep. “I hope I can still play in Singapore. I need treatment and I need a break, for sure.”
Kvitova’s push for a place at the eight-player event also hit a snag when she lost 7-5, 6-4 to Sara Errani, hampered by a shoulder injury and the lingering effects of glandular fever.
Elsewhere, soon-to-retire US Open champion Flavia Pennetta battled past China’s Han Xinyun 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, and Agnieszka Radwanska reached round two when Coco Vandeweghe retired.
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki beat Serbian qualifier Bojana Jovanovski 6-2, 6-4 to progress.
My best year yet, says ‘more complete’ Djokovic
Novak Djokovic said on Sunday he had no regrets about missing a calendar-year Grand Slam in what he described as his best season yet — even better than his sublime 2011.
Djokovic said defeat to Stan Wawrinka in Paris had given him the hunger to win the Wimbledon and the US Open, and a new-found maturity helped him enjoy his successes even more.
“Winning three out of four Grand Slams and playing another final is not a disappointment,” he said at the China Open. “On the contrary, it’s as good as it can get. Somehow I feel like this one is even better [than 2011].”
And Djokovic, who is on a 24-match winning streak at the China Open, added that his main motivation was still simply the enjoyment of hitting tennis balls and competing on court.
Meanwhile, a defiant Rafael Nadal warned his career was not over yet as he pledged that “sooner or later” he will be back at the very top of men’s tennis.
“In the US Open I did better, even if I lost the match [to Fabio Fognini in the round-of-32],” he said. Tough loss, but I did better. Let’s try here [China Open] to do better again.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2015.
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