After as many as five lost opportunities to take the No.1 ranking, Simona Halep has finally achieved the feat this week by reaching the final of the China Open with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Jelena Ostapenko. Dethroning current No.1 Garbine Muguruza, Halep has become the 25th woman in WTA history to hold the top spot, and the first one from Romania.
The 26-year-old Halep’s first chance to win the coveted ranking was actually against Ostapenko, who then stunned her in the French Open final to win the first title of her young career. Four more chances followed — at Eastbourne, Wimbledon, Cincinnati and the US Open — and now, in a rematch of the French Open championship match, Halep finally grabbed the No.1 ranking on her sixth try, exuding composure against inconsistent Ostapenko.
The second-seeded Halep, who will officially be the No.1 on Monday, October 9th, opened the semifinal match with a love break and closed it with a love hold, imposing superior serve throughout, winning 75% of points on her first serve during the encounter that lasted one hour and 15 minutes.
The China Open has been really remarkable for Halep, as she has not only won the top ranking and avenged her Roland Garros loss to Ostapenko, but earlier in the week she also avenged her first-round US Open loss to Maria Sharapova and her recent Wuhan defeat to Daria Kasatkina.