Simona Halep secures debut at No 1 ranking with run in Beijing

Lynette Rowe
October 8, 2017

After a nightmarish start to the match, Sharapova seemed to settle in nicely, saving a break point en route to taking her first lead of the contest with a hold to start the second.

But Halep steeled herself and reeled off three successive games to become the 25th player in the history of the WTA rankings to sit at top spot. "It's incredible that I have done this", Halep said in her on-court interview.

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.

The Romanian beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 to make her way into the final where she will face the victor of Petra Kvitova and Caroline Garcia. "It's my first victory against her and I just want to enjoy the moment".

After not playing Maria Sharapova in two years, Simona Halep played against the Russian for the second time in six weeks.

With Svitolina losing in the quarterfinals to Caroline Garcia, Halep needed to reach the final in order to get past Muguruza. At Roland Garros, she lost to Ostapenko in the final to be denied the opportunity to climb atop.

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In the battle of the Czechs, Petra Kvitova beat Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-4 and will face the victor of the late match between Svitolina and France's Caroline Garcia.

The world No. 2 eased past Russia's unseeded Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1 in 69 minutes and will face Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko next.

"She was hitting the ball consistently, not making a lot of unforced errors, her service percentage was quite high".

Ostapenko made a typically high 33 unforced errors, but her powerful forehand kept her out of trouble against Romanian Cirstea, who is also her doubles partner.

Halep's quarter-final victory on Friday over 34th-ranked Kasatkina avenged a straight-sets loss in their last outing last week at the Wuhan Open.

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