WUHAN, September 25, 2018
Dominika Cibulkova knocked an ailing World No.1 Simona Halep out of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open late on Tuesday evening, denting Halep’s chances of ending the season at the top of the WTA Rankings.
A bigger concern to the Roland Garros champion may be the back injury which clearly troubled her during the match.“It was tough to play at the beginning because my back was blocked,” said Halep. “I don’t like to retire. If I come here I like to give everything and even like this I was close in the second (set), so this match just gives me confidence that my level of tennis is really good. I’m not disappointed, I’m just sad that this injury came out of nowhere.”
Halep injured her back in practice on Sunday but said that she has experienced the issue before and was confident that she would recover “in a few days”.
— WTA (@WTA) 25. September 2018
Wednesday’s Wuhan line-up features some of the world’s best players facing each other for a place in the quarter-finals of the US$2.7 million WTA Premier 5 tournament in Central China.
Cibulkova, who was runner-up in Wuhan in 2016, takes on 13th seed Daria Kasatkina in the last 16 on Wednesday. Kasatkina only just made it to round three after saving four matchpoints against 17-year-old Xiyu Wang in a tussle on Tuesday.
Giantkiller Katerina Siniakova has been on a hot streak of form so far in Wuhan. The Czech came through qualifying to reach round two and then ousted defending Wuhan Open champion Caroline Garcia in three gutsy sets. Her reward is a meeting with former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza in one of Wednesday’s most eagerly-anticipated matches.
Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber can increase her chances of ending the season as World No.1 with every win in Wuhan but she faces a difficult hurdle in the third round on Wednesday in the shape of last year’s Wuhan Open finalist Ashleigh Barty of Australia.
Two-time Wuhan winner Petra Kvitova loves the courts in the central Chinese city and boasts a 13-2 win-loss record here, but Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will be a difficult opponent in the last 16.
“It’s nice to play there again. It’s a beautiful court. So I really enjoy it. I saw some fans with the Czech flag, as well, which is always nice,” said Kvitova, speaking after Tuesday’s win over Aleksandra Krunic.
Local favourite Qiang Wang scored one of the biggest wins of her career when she knocked out eighth seed Karolina Pliskova on Tuesday and has the chance to add another higher ranked scalp when she plays Daria Gavrilova in Round 3.
RESULTS – SEPTEMBER 25, 2018
Singles – Second Round
D. Cibulkova (SVK) d  S. Halep (ROU) 60 75
 C. Wozniacki (DEN) d [Q] R. Peterson (SWE) 64 61
 A. Kerber (GER) d M. Keys (USA) 60 41 Retired
[Q] K. Siniakova (CZE) d  C. Garcia (FRA) 36 76(5) 76(4)
 P. Kvitova (CZE) d A. Krunic (SRB) 63 64
A. Sabalenka (BLR) d  E. Svitolina (UKR) 64 26 61
[WC] Q. Wang (CHN) d  K. Pliskova (CZE) 61 36 63
[Q] S. Kenin (USA) d  J. Goerges (GER) 63 26 64
A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d  K. Bertens (NED) 64 62
 D. Kasatkina (RUS) d [Q] X. Wang (CHN) 61 36 76(8)
 G. Muguruza (ESP) d [Q] V. Golubic (SUI) 60 61
 A. Barty (AUS) d [WC] S. Zheng (CHN) 46 61 62
A. Kontaveit (EST) d D. Vekic (CRO) 62 64
D. Gavrilova (AUS) d B. Strycova (CZE) 62 76(3)
[Q] M. Puig (PUR) d A. Sasnovich (BLR) 62 62
Doubles – Second Round
 G. Dabrowski (CAN) / Y. Xu (CHN) d D. Gavrilova (AUS) / S. Zheng (CHN) 60 63
 N. Melichar (USA) / K. Peschke (CZE) d V. King (USA) / M. Niculescu (ROU) walkover
S. Aoyama (JPN) / L. Marozava (BLR) d J. Ostapenko (LAT) / A. Sabalenka (BLR) 64 62
 L. Hradecka (CZE) / E. Makarova (RUS) d [WC] X. Jiang (CHN) / Q. Wang (CHN) 67(4) 64 11-9
K. Christian (USA) / S. Santamaria (USA) d J. Konta (GBR) / S. Zhang (CHN) 62 61
L. Kichenok (UKR) / K. Srebotnik (SLO) d K. Bertens (NED) / K. Flipkens (BEL) 62 64
S. Hsieh (TPE) / B. Mattek-Sands (USA) d M. Kato (JPN) / M. Ninomiya (JPN) 62 62