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

Rosalie Stanley
October 8, 2017

World number two Simona Halep beat Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-2 in the China Open third round on Wednesday for her first win over the Russian in eight attempts.

Halep and Ostapenko met at the French Open earlier this year, with the Latvian winning the duel.

With the players engaging in hard-hitting baseline rallies, it was Halep that came out on top, breaking serve with a backhand crosscourt to lead 5-4 and then sealing the match with a trademark forehand to complete victory in 77 minutes.

In order to top the women's game, Halep had to reach the final in Beijing this week, and not lose to Elina Svitolina if she got there, to take over from Garbine Muguruza.

If the Frenchwoman wins the China Open, Konta must reach the final of the Kremlin Cup, which starts on 16 October, to claim the eighth and final place at the season finale in Singapore.

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Despite hitting more winners than her rival, Sharapova committed 39 unforced errors and struggled to contend with the Halep's power and aggression in Beijing.

During the season Halep has been in step from the status of the first racket of the world, but neither Roland Garros nor Wimbledon failed to gain the required number of points.

The 26-year-old is the first Romanian to hold the ranking. I try just to not think too much about that, to stop thinking, because you feel the pressure when you're thinking too much. "I'm already happy. I love these big matches anyway, so I will do my best tomorrow".

"Of course it's the best moment in my life, and I want just to keep it", Halep told reporters in Beijing. Still, she played really well those games, those next games [after falling 3-2 down].

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. The French and US Open champion is one of three men to win five titles this year, along with Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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