Simona Halep Becomes New World Number One in Women's Tennis

Simona Halep Becomes New World Number One in Women's Tennis

Simona Halep Becomes New World Number One in Women's Tennis

Simona Halep surged to number one in the world for the first time and into the final of the China Open as she beat Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4.

She will officially end the four-week stand of Spain's Garbine Muguruza at the top of the table on Monday, with just a few weeks left in the regular WTA season.

With Svitolina losing in the quarterfinals to Caroline Garcia, Halep needed to reach the final in order to get past Muguruza.

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

Simona Halep is determined not to rest on her laurels after banishing the pain of several near-misses to become world number one for the first time.

Twice-Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova fought off fatigue to dominate Czech compatriot Barbora Strycova 6-3 6-4 and reach her third Beijing semi-final. In the process, with the help of a devastating combination of world-class defence and well-controlled offence, the world number two would take advantage of another flat start from Sharapova to earn an insurance break in the fifth game before using that advantage to take the opening set, 6-2, in 34 minutes.

That said, with 9 of the Top 10 players entered (only Venus didn't make the trip), Simona Halep was the only Top 8 player to make the semifinals. "It's unbelievable that I have done this", Halep said in her on-court interview.

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

But Saturday's semi-final was a more one-sided affair as Halep broke Ostapenko in the first game of the match.

Halep, now ranked No 2, defeated the unseeded Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-1 to close in on the top spot held by Garbine Muguruza.

But the 20-year-old added after seeing off Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-4: "If I play my best and I stay aggressive tomorrow and I am consistent, I think everything can happen".

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