In the marquee match of the WTA Finals round robin, Simona Halep outlasted Bianca Andreescu 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 in a thriller Monday in Shenzhen.
In this first meeting between the last two Slam winners, the youngster Andreescu held a match point on Halep’s serve at 6-5 in the second.
“It’s been a great match both sides, in my opinion. She did great this year. Winning so many tournaments gave her a lot of confidence. I expected a very tough match,” said Halep.
“I’m really proud actually that I could fight in this way because I have a month that I didn’t really practice with my back, with the injury. But looks like I’m still there.
“Today, it was a challenge because she’s 10 years younger than me. It was a good fight. I’m happy about my victory.”
In her Finals debut, Andreescu suffered just her second Top 10 loss of her career.
“I think I was executing the right tactics. My serve. My return was good today, for most of the match at least. I didn’t feel intimidated at all stepping on the court,” Andreescu told the press.
“I know I looked up to her a lot, so being able to play her was really fun. Yeah, maybe I’ll get to play her again here, get my revenge.
“It was a good match. She fought really hard. I didn’t take my chances in the second set, so I’m really disappointed about that.”
On Wednesday, Halep will face Elina Svitolina while Andreescu takes on Karolina Pliskova.
In the early match, Svitolina opened her title defense beating Pliskova 7-6(12), 6-4.
“There is always pressure I would say because you see last year, I won two matches, then I had to win one more set. I almost lost the match, almost not qualified for the semfinals,” Svitolina said looking ahead.
” You always have to be up there, always have to bring your best game. Until the last point is done, you have to fight for every single point, every single game.
“That’s why round-robins are extremely tough, because you never know what’s going to happen. You have to give everything each time you step on the court.”
Tomorrow, the Red Group returns with Naomi Osaka battling Ash Barty in a battle of the first two Slam winners of the season. Then Petra Kvitova collides with Belinda Bencic.
“It’s obviously a very tough one against Naomi,” said Barty. “It’s refreshing knowing that I get to play her now having just played her a few weeks ago in Beijing. It’s very different conditions. Indoors, and the bounce of the court changes that a lot.
“I learnt a lot from the match in Beijing. I’ll try to take as much as I can into the match come Tuesday. I think first and foremost it’s about going out, trying to adapt to conditions. It’s a different match. Go out there and try and learn as much as possible, change a few things tactically. I’ll keep a few things tactically the same that I thought were effective. It’s an opportunity for me to go out there and try a few different things.”
TUESDAY SHENZHEN SCHEDULE
Play starts at 4pm
Gabriela DABROWSKI (CAN) / XU Yifan (CHN)  v Samantha STOSUR (AUS) / ZHANG Shuai (CHN) 
Not before 6:30pm
Ashleigh BARTY (AUS)  v Naomi OSAKA (JPN) 
Not before 8pm
Petra KVITOVA (CZE)  v Belinda BENCIC (SUI) 
HSIEH Su-Wei (TPE) / Barbora STRYCOVA (CZE)  v Barbora KREJCIKOVA (CZE) / Katerina SINIAKOVA (CZE) 
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