New Number One Simona Halep Eager To Retain Focus

New Number One Simona Halep Eager To Retain Focus

Halep knew that a march to the final would see her top the world rankings when the new list is published on Monday, and she duly took care of Latvia's Ostapenko 6-2 6-4 in Saturday's semi-final.

Halep could have reached the No1 earlier this year but was upset in the French Open final by Ostapenko in their first career meeting.

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.

She displayed an nearly flawless play in Beijing, where back in 2012 she lost to Sharapova in two sets. Halep tightened her grip with another break in the seventh game for a 5-2 lead and served out the first set.

Becoming the 25th woman to stand atop the WTA rankings, Halep is also the first from Romania.

Asked by AFP what those were, she smiled: "I tell you one, only one: to win a Grand Slam, which you know". 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.

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She is 26 and has been on the pro circuit for the last 11 years.

After not playing Maria Sharapova in two years, Simona Halep played against the Russian for the second time in six weeks. "It's my first victory against her and I just want to enjoy the moment".

She added: "In the French Open I was a set and 3-0 [up], so here was a little bit different". A solid first set won by 6-2 put the second seed in front.

In the men's draw Nadal defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 in their semi-final.

That has consequences for Great Britain's Johanna Konta, who is battling Garcia for the last spot at the WTA Finals.

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