1 seat after beating Ostapenko

Simona Halep secures long-awaited win over Maria Sharapova

Simona Halep has become world number one for the first time by beating Jelena Ostapenko to reach the final of the China Open.

Halep booked her place in the finals of the China Open after registering a comfortable 6-2, 6-4 win over Ostapenko in a one-sided last-four contest that lasted one hour and 15 minutes.

The Romanian's ousting of Spaniard Garbine Muguruza at the top of the women's game will be officially confirmed next week when the latest rankings are released.

Halep for the debut of falling at the first line in the WTA rankings was enough to reach the final.

The former world No. 1 was forced to retire during her Beijing opener due to illness.

Halep broke Ostapenko's serve in the first game at love and expanded the lead to 5-2 with another break in the seventh game beforing serving out the first set.


Throughout 2017, Halep has come agonisingly close to becoming world number one, only to lose a match which would have resulted in her claiming the much sought-after position.

"Of course it's the best moment in my life, and I want just to keep it", Halep told reporters in Beijing.

In what was a tremendous comeback, she went on winning the next two sets to kill off Halep's second French Open title bid.

She could yet be joined by Wuhan Open champion Caroline Garcia, who boosted her chances with a 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 victory over Elise Mertens. Her win advanced her to the quarterfinals.

An icy Halep served out the match at the end of a solid game on her own terms, converting the first match point she had. In the quarter-finals, she meets the victor between 11th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Russian Daria Kasatkina.

In addition to doubling her winners (12) to unforced errors (6), the Romanian also served very well, which was unquestionably an area that Sharapova had been able to exploit in their seven prior meetings.

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