Former World No.1 Simona Halep was forced to withdraw from the Wuhan Open due to a back injury, leaving the Romanian rather disappointed with the result. She mentioned that the back pain felt different from the herniated disc she had suffered at the China Open in Beijing last year.
Halep was trailing 4-5 in the opening set to Elena Rybakina when at 30-30 she retired from the match. “It’s a lower back [injury],” Halep said afterwards. “I think it’s more muscle, but I don’t know yet because I didn’t check it properly.
[At] 4-all, 0-30, with the backhand. I had a sharp pain. I don’t know yet [if it’s the same as the previous injury]. It looks a little bit different but it’s still the same zone”. She further added, “I started to play well this tournament.
I'm disappointed it happened again with the back”. Halep remains in contention for one of the remaining six spots at the year-end WTA Finals in Shenzhen and is uncertain how her injury will affect the rest of her season.
Speaking about her win, Rybakina said, "I started a little bit nervous. But I played well in the last few games. I went on court with nothing to lose, to show my best game, to fight." She then spoke about Halep, empathising with her for her injury.
"Of course, I didn't want to win the match like this," said Rybakina. "The worst thing that can happen to an athlete is injuries - I wish Simona a speedy recovery and I'm just happy to be in the quarters."
The rising star also spoke about her breakthrough season, saying, "It's amazing," she recalled. "I started the year [around] World No.200 - the goal for the year was Top 100, then it was Top 50, and it's getting better and better."