Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time. Shenzhen: Defending champion Elina Svitolina stormed into the semi-finals of the season-ending WTA Finals after a commanding win over Simona Halep on Wednesday, while Canadian sensation Bianca Andreescu retired hurt against Karolina Pliskova.Andreescu injured her left knee in the third game after attempting to return a wide serve. She received heavy strapping during the subsequent medical timeout. The 19-year-old gamely fought on but was noticeably hobbled and retired after the first set, which Pliskova won 6-3 in 51 minutes. Winless Andreescu can’t qualify for the semi-finals, while Wimbledon champion Halep will play Pliskova to decide the group’s second spot.Andreescu, the youngest player in the draw, said she heard her “knee crack” but was unsure whether she would play the dead rubber against Svitolina on Friday.”It (the knee) kind of went inwards,” she told reporters. “Putting pressure afterwards on it really bothered me. I could barely bend my knee.’I heard my knee crack.’@BAndreescu_ speaks about her injury at the @WTAFinals pic.twitter.com/zC1UuzWgtm— WTA (@WTA) October 30, 2019 “Hopefully I can recover quickly,” she added.Pliskova said she was excited about her upcoming must-win match against Halep. “Of course, there’s going to be some nerves but I think that’s normal,” she said. “You lose, you go home. There’s not going to be anything we’re not used to.”Svitolina will finish top of Purple Group after taking advantage of an error-strewn Halep to win 7-5, 6-3 in one hour and 39 minutes at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre.Where did that come from, @ElinaSvitolina? It’s our Shot Of The Day!#WTAFinals pic.twitter.com/276mMTaysP— WTA (@WTA) October 30, 2019 Svitolina is the first player through to the semi-finals, having also beaten world number two Pliskova in straight sets on Monday. Svitolina had the better of long baseline rallies against an uncharacteristically errant Halep, who finished with 38 unforced errors.”It’s about managing attack and defense for me,” Svitolina said. “I’ve been working on this. That’s working well this week.”After a slow start, Halep came back into the contest. A powerful forehand winner down the line clinched her break in the fifth game before the players held serve.Halep misfired sloppily in the 12th game as she handed Svitolina the first set with a slew of unforced errors.Halep started well in the second set with an early break before falling away against the more consistent Svitolina.The result broke a deadlock between the pair with Svitolina now holding a 5-4 edge and exacting revenge for a semi-loss to Halep at Wimbledon in July.The 25-year-old is hoping to end a barren season on a high having failed to win a title since last year’s WTA Finals triumph.Halep said she had to sharpen her game to stay in the tournament. “I really want to win because I want to qualify from this group,” she said.”Hopefully I can recover because I’m a little bit tired and play better than today,” she added. Bianca Andreescuelina svitolinakarolina pliskovaSimona Halep First Published: October 30, 2019, 10:29 PM IST
Two-time defending champion Real Madrid landed in a strong Champions League group with Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, and APOEL in the 32-team draw on Thursday.Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo finished second to Dortmund in last season’s groups before lifting a third European title in four seasons.Tottenham, which should face its former star Gareth Bale with Madrid, was arguably the unluckiest of the record five English sides.Manchester United and Liverpool received favorable draws in the groups which begin play on September 12. The top two in each of the eight groups advance to the knockout rounds.United returns after a one-year absence to play top-seeded Benfica — which it beat at Wembley to win the first of its three European titles in 1968 — Basel, and CSKA Moscow.Liverpool landed with the weakest top-seeded team, Russian champion Spartak Moscow, plus Sevilla, and Maribor. Liverpool lost the 2016 Europa League final to Sevilla.AP PhotoBarcelona, which was in the second-seeded pot, landed with Juventus — a rematch of the 2015 final won 3-1 by the Spanish giant — Olympiakos and Sporting Lisbon.Neymar’s bid to win a first European title for Paris Saint-Germain will open in a group with five-time winner Bayern Munich plus Anderlecht and Celtic. Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti, a three-time Champions League winner as a coach, formerly led PSG.Chelsea, the last English team to win in 2012, was grouped with Atletico Madrid, Roma, and Azerbaijani newcomer Qarabag.The other newcomer, Leipzig, is in a balanced group with top-seeded Monaco, Porto, and Besiktas.advertisementShakhtar Donetsk heads another strong group with Manchester City, Napoli, and Feyenoord. Shakhtar continues to play home games away from Donetsk which is at the center of conflict between Ukraine government forces and pro-Russian separatists.Kiev’s Olympic Stadium will host the final on May 26 and could be an option to host Shakhtar group games.FULL DRAW:Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, Basel, CSKA MoscowGroup B: Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht, CelticGroup C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, Qarabag.Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting LisbonGroup E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, Maribor.Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord.Group G: Monaco, Porto, Besiktas, Leipzig.Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, APOEL.
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