Tennis: Simona Halep powers to world No. 1 ranking and Beijing final, to meet Caroline Garcia

Simona Halep in action against Jelena Ostapenko during their women's singles semifinals match at the China Open tennis tournament at the National Tennis Center in Beijing, China on Oct 7, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (AFP) - Simona Halep surged to No. 1 in the world for the first time and into the final of the China Open, as she beat Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 on Saturday (Oct 7).

The Romanian's ousting of Spaniard Garbine Muguruza at the top of the women's game will be officially confirmed on Monday when the latest rankings are released.

Both will be in Singapore for the WTA Finals later in October.

For Halep, who went into the semi-final on Beijing's outdoor hard courts as world No. 2 for 14 weeks, victory was revenge after Ostapenko won their duel in the French Open final earlier this year.

The 26-year-old Halep, who is yet to taste Grand Slam success, will face Caroline Garcia of France in Sunday's final in the Chinese capital.

She was always in control against the world No. 8 Ostapenko and put herself on the way to victory when she broke the talented 20-year-old in the first game of the first set.

Halep, the latest player to take the hot seat at the top of the women's game this year with Serena Williams becoming a mother, saw off former No. 1 Maria Sharapova earlier last week in Beijing.

Garcia beat Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5 to stay in the running to reach the WTA Finals in Singapore.

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