Romanian tennis player Simona Halep dominated the year 2018, at world level. Halep qualified for two Grand Slam finals in 2018 winning one of them. Then Simona continued to dominate the WTA rankings, ending the year at the top of the table. For the 5th time around, Simona Halep qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore. Reason enough for Radio Romania International to designate Halep the year’s top athlete, for the third time.
Halep began the year with a win. In early January, Halep compelled recognition in the WTA Shenzhen tournament in the singles as well as in the doubles. In the women’s singles final Halep outperformed trophy holder, the Czech tennis player Katerina Siniakova, 6-1, 2-6, 6-nil. In the women’s doubles, Simona Halep and Irina Begu grabbed a win over the all-Czech pair made of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, 1-6, 6-1, 10-8.
Then the Australian Open in Melbourne followed, where Simona Halep reached as far as the finals. In the semifinals, Halep outclassed German opponent Angelique Kerber, 6-3, 4‑6, 9-7. Halep thus secured 2 million AUD and 1,300 WTA points. In the final, however, Halep was defeated by the Polish-born Danish challenger Caroline Wozniacki, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.
Halep’s main performance was winning the Roland Garros tournament in June. In the final, Halep defeated American contender Sloane Stephens, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, thus winning the first Grand Slam of her career. We recall that Halep had played two French Opne finals before, matches that she lost in 2014 and 2017 to Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko, respectively.
In August, Simona Halep again played Sloane Stephens, in the finals of the Premier 5 tournament in Montreal. Halep secured another win against Stephens 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.
Another Premier 5 tournament followed, in Cincinnati, the USA. Simona Halep made it to the finals, but she was defeated by Dutch challenger Kiki Bertens, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2, after more than two hours of play, having failed to win a match ball in the second set.
For Simona, the Cincinnati tournament finals was the 33rd of her career. We recall that so far Halep has won 18 WTA tournaments. Simona won six titles in 2013, in Nürnberg, 's-Hertogenbosch, Budapest, New Haven, Moscow and Sofia. Two more titles followed in 2014, in Doha and Bucharest, then three other titles in 2015, in Shenzhen, Dubai and Indian Wells. In 2016, Halep won another three titles, in Madrid, Bucharest and Montreal. In 2017, Simona won the tournament in Madrid, while in 2018, she won the titles in Shenzhen, Roland Garros and Montreal.
The Cincinnati tournament was to be the last event in 2018 when Simona Halep won with no injuries reported. Health problems took their toll on Simona Halep’s level of performance, so much so that her run in the US Open, Wuhan and Beijing, in China, was below par.
Born on September 27, 1991, in Constanta, Simona Halep made her debut as a pro in 2006, when she played her first ITF matches. In 2010, Halep earned a position among the world’s top 100 players. In August 2014, Simona made it to the 2nd-place in the WTA rankings, for the first time in her career, a position which at that time was the highest ever for a Romanian woman tennis player. In October 2017, Simona Halep was at the top of the table according to WTA rankings. In 2018, Simona Halep was also the number one WTA player.