After defending champion Elina Svitolina victoriously kicked off singles play in the Purple Group on Day 2 of the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep saved a match point in the second set and recovered from a break down in the decider to beat US Open champion Bianca Andreescu at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre in their much-anticipated first career meeting.
The first player to go up a break in the opening set was tournament debutante Andreescu, and even though Halep broke right back for 2-2, the Canadian of Romanian origin broke her opponent’s serve two more times and confidently went ahead 6-3 in 38 minutes, posting 15 winners to 10 unforced errors, compared to Halep’s 5 winners to 10 unforced errors.
— WTA (@WTA) October 28, 2019
After a flurry of breaks, Halep edged ahead to 4-2 in the second set, but Andreescu employed a variety of shots, including a front-side tweener to level the set at 4-4. Then there was a pause in the action as the fourth-seeded Andreescu had a cut on her shin treated and the frustrated Halep used the time to talk to her coach Darren Cahill, who encouraged her and told her to go after her second serve more.
Leading 6-5, Andreescu earned a match point, but Halep saved it with a smart baseline rally, held serve and somehow managed to prevail in a tiebreak on her third set point, as the fourth-ranked Andreescu lost patience and made a big, unnecessary error.
As the third set wore on, Andreescu kept losing steam and even though she was initially up a break, towards the end of the long match the Canadian seemed tired and barely had energy to walk, probably partly because of a back issue she had treated during the match. Halep’s experience and incredible effort prevailed in this dramatic encounter and the Romanian fifth seed celebrated 3-6 7-6(6) 6-3.
This is Andreescu’s second straight loss to a Top 10 player, but her record against the elite group in 2019 is still impressive, 8-2. Let me remind you that this time last year Andreescu was ranked No.185 and played a $60,000 ITF tournament in Canada, while now she’s earning $385,000 just for participating at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen, plus she’ll earn an additional $305,000 for every round-robin match win in the Purple Group.