Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Simona Halep becomes 25th WTA World No.1

Simona Halep of Romania claim a first ever win over Maria Sharapova at the China Open Simona Halep of Romania claim a first ever win over Maria Sharapova at the China Open
Spencer Simpson | 08 October, 2017, 00:55

But after mowing down Daria Kasatkina - who beat her in Wuhan last week - 6-2, 6-1, she'll now get a rematch with Jelena Ostapenko who stunned her in the French Open final.

Halep lost to Ostapenko in this year's French Open final but gained revenge with a superb display in Beijing that took just 75 minutes.

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.

In the men's draw, world number one Rafael Nadal beat Grigor Dimitrov to set up a tasty final showdown with temperamental Australian Nick Kyrgios, who pulled off a stunning 6-3, 7-5 win over starlet Alexander Zverev.

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.

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.

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 very emotional, I think it's the first time I cried on court", Halep said on-court after the match.

The 26-year-old is the first Romanian to hold the ranking. "I really want to do better, and I know I have to try to dominate the point or I will run a lot".

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.

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. In the quarter-finals, she meets the victor between 11th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Russian Daria Kasatkina.

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