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Johanna Konta's hopes of qualifying for the WTA Finals suffer another blow as she pulls out of Hong Kong Open

  • ontennis
  • 03 October 2017
  • 08:10

Johanna Konta's hopes of qualifying for the WTA Finals have suffered another blow after she pulled out of next week's Hong Kong Open with a foot injury.

The British number one has lost her last five matches, most recently a 6-1 6-2 thrashing by Monica Niculescu in the opening round of the China Open on Sunday.

The move is said to be precautionary, with Konta still intending to play in the Kremlin Cup in Moscow the following week.

The 26-year-old said: “I'm very disappointed to have to withdraw from next week's Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open. I was really looking forward to being part of this fantastic event again and seeing more of the wonderful city of Hong Kong.

“I want to wish everyone involved in the tournament a happy and successful one. I look forward to hopefully seeing you all next year.”

Despite her poor form, Konta is hanging onto the eighth and final qualifying spot for the WTA Finals in Singapore later this month, with her rivals so far unable to capitalise.

Kristina Mladenovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Coco Vandeweghe also lost early in Beijing, with Wuhan Open champion Caroline Garcia now looking the main danger.

Konta missed out on a debut appearance 12 months ago when Kuznetsova won the Kremlin Cup to overtake her at the last moment.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep will contest a rematch of their dramatic US Open encounter in the third round of the China Open.

Sharapova's grand slam comeback pitted her against world number two Halep in the opening round in New York and the Russian pulled off an impressive victory.

A 6-4 4-6 6-1 win against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in Beijing set up another meeting with Halep, against whom Sharapova boasts a 7-0 record.

Halep eased into the third round after Magdalena Rybarikova pulled out trailing 6-1 2-1.

The Romanian said of facing Sharapova again on “I played her many times, was close many times. Now it's a new day and we'll see. Maybe I can win. I really want to do it so I will give everything.

“I should have served better to win that (US Open) match. I played pretty good, and she played amazing.

“It's different that it's not the first round. It's always tough to play the first match of the tournament but here we are in the third round, so maybe it's going to be something different.”

Vandeweghe also withdrew, a back problem causing her to throw in the towel trailing Daria Gavrilova 6-3 2-0, all but ending her chances of qualifying for the WTA Finals.

Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska came from a break down in the second set to defeat China's Zhang Shuai 7-5 7-5.

Fourth seed Karolina Pliskova defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-4 while Petra Kvitova was a 6-4 6-4 winner against Varvara Lepchenko.

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