Simona Halep into China Open final; becomes new World No 1

Rachel Hardy
October 8, 2017

Halep saw off former number one Maria Sharapova earlier this week on Beijing's outside hard courts and her defeat of Ostapenko had a whiff of revenge-the 20-year-old won their duel in the French Open final earlier this year, depriving Halep of a first Grand Slam.

Halep ensured she would replace Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza, who retired ill from the tournament earlier this week, at the summit of the rankings with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Ostapenko at the Olympic Green Tennis Center.

"I think she played an incredible match, probably the best she's played against me in all of our previous meetings", said Sharapova, who won the China Open in 2014. Halep tightened her grip with another break in the seventh game for a 5-2 lead and served out the first set.

She is the first Romanian player to claim the top honour and will be the 25th world No.1 since rankings began in 1975.

Maria Sharapova of Russian Federation (L) and Simona Halep of Romania (R) shake hands at centre court after their women's singles match in the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing. "It's wonderful that I have done this", Halep said in her on-court interview.

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Garcia took the opening set before Kvitová fought back in the second.

The Romanian held the momentum in the second set to win the last three games of the match to seal a place in the final. I'm really happy that I could do this.

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

Halep squares off against Caroline Garcia of France in the China Open finals. In the quarter-finals, she meets the victor between 11th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Russian Daria Kasatkina. She is set to finish in the top five for the fourth year in a row and has gotten to the semifinals of all 14 of the top annual events on the tour, with the exception of the Australian Open, where she has twice made the quarterfinals.

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