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Halep going close in yet another bid to be No. 1

08 October 2017

A few games later, the world number two would double her advantage in the second set before ruthlessly closing out the victory in just 72 minutes with another big serve: one of the many keys to her first-ever victory over the Russian. "It's awesome that I have done this", Halep said in her on-court interview.

The 26-year-old avenged this year's French Open final defeat to the hard-hitting Ostapenko with a ruthless display of all-round tennis that saw her win 6-2 6-4 in just over an hour in Beijing.

Simona Halep of Romania celebrates after being presented with a bouquet in the shape of the number "1", after surging to world number one by winning her women's singles semifinal match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 7, 2017.

She broke Sharapova five times in return and made just six unforced errors in clinching a place in the quarter-finals. "I really want to do better, and I know I have to try to dominate the point or I will run a lot".

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In the men's draw, world number one Rafael Nadal beat Grigor Dimitrov to set up a tasty final showdown with temperamental Australian Nick Kyrgios, who pulled off a stunning 6-3, 7-5 win over starlet Alexander Zverev. In the quarter-finals, she meets the victor between 11th-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and Russian Daria Kasatkina. Halep will be making her fourth straight appearance in the Republic.

She could yet be joined by Wuhan Open champion Caroline Garcia, who boosted her chances with a 7-6 (7/4) 6-4 victory over Elise Mertens.

On the other side, Jelena Ostapenko was playing her third consecutive semifinal in Asia trying to reach her first Premier Mandatory final in the process. A solid first set won by 6-2 put the second seed in front.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko beat Sam Stosur 6-3 7-5 in the second round and qualified for her maiden appearance at the WTA Finals later this month.

Halep going close in yet another bid to be No. 1