World number five Simona Halep rallied in from behind to beat Canada’s Bianca Andreescu 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3 in the purple group round-robin clash at WTA Finals in Shenzen, China, on Monday.
After holding up their opening serves in the first set, Halep and Andrescu traded breaks to go 2-all. The world number four then fired 15 winners against her Romanian opponent’s five as she broke her twice more to take the first set 6-3.
“It feels good to win a match at the @WTAFinals!”@Simona_Halep reflects on her three-set thriller in Shenzhen!
Presented by @SAPSports pic.twitter.com/8OR9v9WzcG
— WTA (@WTA) October 28, 2019
Desperate to stay in the match, Halep went 3-2 up in the second game. However, Andreescu turned the table again with sheer athleticism that she is known for.
At 4-all in the second set, Halep called for a medical timeout when her fitness coach Darren Cahill encouraged and asked her to keep her shots low and focus on improving the first-serve percentage.
It did wonders for her as she went to save one match-point and forced Andreescu into the tie-break with a spectacular backhand which even Andreescu’s power failed to return. Both the players then dealt with backhands in the tiebreak before Halep cracked her opponent with a mix of passing shots and lob to take the second set.
The former Wimbledon champion and World number one played better Tennis in the final set and went 5-3 up against her teenaged opponent. She then served for the match successfully with a hold to love to go 1-0 up in the purple group.
In the other match of the group, defending champions Elina Svitolina eased past world number two Karolina Pliskova with a straight-set victory of 7-6 (14/12), 6-4.
The first set saw both the players on equal footing with Pliskova starting the match on a positive note. The Czech Republic player displayed her trademark hard-hitting blows from the baseline and mixed them will softer touch to capture a break in the first game.
But the Ukranian world number eight quickly gained her momentum and broke Pliskova in the fourth game and drag the opening game into a tiebreak. 27-year-old Pliskova gave a tough challenge to Svitolina as she saved six match points but a miscue on the seventh saw her opponent drawing the first blood.
Svitolina dominated the second set from the word go and broke her opponent in the very first game. With no serious threat from Pliskova for a comeback, she eased past her opponent in the second set 6-4 to begin her title defence with a win.