Halep becomes world number one after semi-final win
Simona Halep has become world number one for the first time by beating Jelena Ostapenko to reach the final of the China Open.
Romanian Halep won 6-2 6-4 in Beijing and will replace Spain’s Garbine Muguruza at the top of the rankings.
Having suffered a shock defeat by Ostapenko in this year’s French Open final, Halep was always in control against the world number eight.
She will face Caroline Garcia or Petra Kvitova in Sunday’s final.
Halep, 26, will be confirmed in the number one spot when the rankings are released on Monday.
In June, Ostapenko denied Halep both a first Grand Slam title and the number one ranking with a stunning win in Paris.
The 20-year-old Latvian trailed by a set and was 3-0 down in the second but prevailed to become the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933.
But Saturday’s semi-final was a more one-sided affair as Halep broke Ostapenko in the first game of the match.
Her serve was superior throughout – she won 75% of points on her first serve as she was broken just once.
In the second semi-final, France’s Garcia takes on Kvitova of the Czech Republic needing to reach the final to overtake Britain’s Johanna Konta in the race the WTA Finals.
Garcia is the only player who can catch Konta for the eighth and final place for the season finale in Singapore.
If she wins the China Open, Konta must reach the final of the Kremlin Cup, which starts on 16 October, to qualify.