Halep reaches No.1
Originally published on 07/10/17 00:00
The Romanian defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 to reach the final of the China Open and also become the 25th player in WTA history to reach top spot.
The 26-year-old is the first female from her country to occupy the No.1 ranking and she will look to complete an unforgettable week in Beijing by capturing a 16th career title on Sunday.
There have been a number of near misses and close calls for Halep in her bid to reach top spot and she was clearly unwilling to let another glorious opportunity slip by.
The Romanian, as she has been throughout the tournament, was clinical in her duel with Ostapenko and she was understandably overjoyed after clinching victory with a well-directed forehand winner.
"It's very emotional, I think it's the first time I cried on court," said the new No.1. "It's amazing that I could do this. My team, everyone at home is watching and I want to thank everyone. It's my special day.”
Caroline Garcia will be Halep's final opponent. The Frenchwoman's rich vein of form continues as she downed Petra Kvitova 6-3 7-3 to reach a second consecutive final and stay in contention for the WTA finals in Singapore.
In the men’s event in Beijing, Rafael Nadal booked his spot in a 110th career final by overcoming Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 4-6 6-1 in an entertaining contest.
The world No.1 made it 11 wins in succession after being pushed by his tenacious opponent. The Spaniard squandered a second set advantage and was eventually pushed to a third set.
The decider was filled with engrossing rallies and exquisite shotmaking, but it was the Spaniard who won the majority of big points and claimed victory.
Nadal will take on Nick Kyrgios in the final. The Australian served excellently as he took out Alexander Zverev 6-3 7-5 to progress into his second final of the season.
At the Japan Open in Tokyo, Adrian Mannarino surprised Marin Cilic 6-7(5) 6-4 6-0 to reach the fourth final of his career and maintain his hopes of winning a first title.
He will take on David Goffin in Sunday’s finale. The Belgian reached his second consecutive final by defeating Diego Schwartzman 7-6(3) 7-6(6).