Bianca Andreescu falls to Simona Halep in opener at WTA Finals | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Bianca Andreescu falls to Simona Halep in opener at WTA Finals

Simona Halep of Romania reacts as she plays against Bianca Andreescu of Canada during their WTA Finals Tennis Tournament in Shenzhen, China's Guangdong province, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019.
Image Credit: (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
October 28, 2019 - 9:30 AM

SHENZHEN, China - Canada's Bianca Andreescu will have to try to dig out of an early hole at the WTA Finals.

The 19-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., lost 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3 to Simona Halep of Romania in the opening match for both players on Monday.

The US$14-million season-ending tournament splits the eight players into two groups — Andreescu, ranked fourth in the world, and No. 5 Halep are in the Purple Group. After a round-robin, the top two from each group advance to the semifinals.

Andreescu has now lost two matches in a row in the aftermath of a 17-match winning streak. It marks the first time she has lost two in a row since July-August 2018.

It was the first career meeting for Andreescu against a player she grew up cheering for as a youngster. Andreescu's family comes from Romania and the teenager spent some of her childhood in the country.

The match also featured the past two Grand Slam champions — Halep won Wimbledon and Andreescu captured the U.S. Open.

Halep, with serve, fought off one match point in the second set and then put Andreescu away in the tiebreaker on her third set point.

Andreescu got treatment on her back after the second set and appeared to struggle with her movement for parts of the third set.

Halep broke Andreescu to go up 5-3 in the third set and held on serve to finish it in two hours 35 minutes.

The match featured contrasting styles when it came to use of coaches. Halep asked for multiple visits from her coach, Darren Cahill, while Andreescu did not request any chats with her coach, Sylvain Bruneau.

Andreescu is the first Canadian to play in the WTA Finals since Eugenie Bouchard went 0-3 at the event in 2014.

Meanwhile, defending champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine stretched her unbeaten run at the WTA Finals into a new year, beating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (12), 6-4 in her opening match Monday at the season-ending tournament.

Svitolina, the only player in this year's field who has not won a title this season, was unbeaten in the tournament last year.

After exchanging service breaks in the first set, Svitolina converted her seventh set point. Pliskova also had a chance to take the first set, but she failed to take advantage of a set point at 9-8 in the tiebreaker.

Svitolina then jumped ahead 2-0 in the second set and then broke again for a 4-3 lead.

The victory gives Svitolina a 1-0 record in the Purple Group, while Pliskova is 0-1.

Andreescu is 1-0 against each of Svitolina and Pliskova in her career.

Pliskova, who had won all three of her previous opening matches at the WTA Finals, leads the tour with four titles this season — winning in Brisbane, Rome, Eastbourne and Zhengzhou. She also leads the tour with most aces served at 481.

— With files from The Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 28, 2019.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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