Tears as Halep is No.1 at last

Sunday Mail - - SPORT -

SI­MONA Halep will fi­nally be­come women’s world No.1 ten­nis player to­mor­row af­ter reach­ing the fi­nal of the China Open.

The Ro­ma­nian has missed out on the chance to top the rank­ings twice this year. But, it was third time lucky as she beat Je­lena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 in the semi- fi­nals in Bei­jing.

“It’s very emo­tional. I think it’s the first time I cried on court,” Halep said.

“It’s amaz­ing that I could do this. My team, ev­ery­one at home is watch­ing and I want to thank ev­ery­one. It’s my spe­cial day.”

WTA CEO Steve Simon and tour pres­i­dent Micky Lawler pre­sented Halep with a me­mento to mark her achieve­ment af­ter the match.

Halep will de­throne Gar­bine Mugu­ruza early next week when the new rank­ings are re­leased and she be­comes the third woman to take top spot since mid-July af­ter short spells for the Spa­niard and Czech Karolina Pliskova.

She will be­come the 25th player in WTA rank­ing his­tory to claim top spot.

Halep would have had the hon­our in June had she beaten Ostapenko in the French Open fi­nal, but the Lat­vian sprang a sur­prise at Roland Gar­ros. She took her re­venge in Tokyo, tak­ing ad­van­tage of Ostapenko’s weak sec­ond serve with two breaks in the first set.

Halep might have had a sense of deja vu when she found her­self a set and a break up as that was the po­si­tion of the French Open fi­nal when Ostapenko started a bril­liant come­back.

The Lat­vian threat­ened it again, as she ral­lied to lead the sec­ond set 4-3, but Halep steeled her­self and reeled off three suc­ces­sive games. She will bid for the ti­tle this week­end against Czech Pe­tra Kvi­tova or French­woman Caro­line Gar­cia.

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