Facing each other for the first time, Simona Halep saved a match point against the young Canadian Bianca Andreescu to prevail 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 after two hours and 34 minutes. Making a debut at the WTA Finals, Bianca had the opportunity to seal the deal in the 12th game of the second set, wasting that match point and losing ground after that, with Halep proving to be mentally and physically stronger in the decider to kick off the campaign with a win.
Andreescu won two points more overall, hitting 36 winners and 38 unforced errors while Halep counted to 23 winners and 31 mistakes, scoring three straight breaks in the decider to cross the finish line first. Bianca earned 15 break opportunities and converted seven, one more than Halep who grabbed her return games in the more critical moments to score a win.
Thundering from both wings, Andreescu hit 15 winners in the first set and rattled off four straight games from 2-3 to clinch it with breaks in games seven and nine, moving a set away from the triumph when Halep netted a forehand in that ninth game.
In set number two, Simona was there to fight after a similar number of winners and unforced errors, staying neck and neck until that 12th game when Simona saved the match point, prevailing 8-6 in the tie break after a service winner to force a decider.
Bianca moved in front in the third game of the decider before Halep pulled it back immediately to remain on the positive side of the scoreboard. The Romanian grabbed another break to move 4-2 up and there was more drama just around the corner, as Andreescu broke back in the very next game with a return winner.
Staying focused, Halep delivered the third straight break that sent her 5-3 in front, sealing the deal with a forehand winner in game nine for a significant victory at the beginning of the competition.