TEN­NIS

Halep in fi­nal, se­cures No. 1 women’s rank­ing

The Washington Post Sunday - - WASHINGTONPOST.COM/SPORTS -

Si­mona Halep will take over the top rank­ing af­ter reach­ing the China Open fi­nal Satur­day, and Rafael Nadal will play Nick Kyr­gios for the men’s ti­tle Sun­day in Bei­jing.

Halep beat French Open cham­pion Je­lena Ostapenko, 6-2, 6-4, en­sur­ing that, when the WTA rank­ings are up­dated Mon­day, she will be the first women’s No. 1 from Ro­ma­nia.

Halep could have reached No. 1 ear­lier this year but was up­set in the French Open fi­nal by Ostapenko in their first ca­reer meet­ing.

“Of course it’s the best mo­ment in my life, and I want just to keep it,” Halep said. “And I have a few more dreams in my ca­reer. I tell you one, only one: to win a Grand Slam.”

Halep only had to reach the fi­nal this week — and not lose to Elina Svi­tolina in that fi­nal — to knock Gar­bine Mugu­ruza from the top spot. Mugu­ruza re­tired dur­ing her open­ing match Mon­day be­cause of a cold.

Look­ing for her sec­ond ti­tle of the year af­ter win­ning in Madrid, Halep will play Caro­line Gar­cia in the fi­nal. Gar­cia beat Pe­tra Kvi­tova, 6-3, 7-5, in the other semi­fi­nal.

On the men’s side, top-seeded Nadal de­feated third-seeded Grigor Dim­itrov, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, in the semi­fi­nals, his tour-lead­ing 60th match win.

Kyr­gios didn’t drop his serve in oust­ing sec­ond-seeded Alexan­der Zverev, 6-3, 7-5, in the other semi. The Aus­tralian had an im­pres­sive 70 per­cent first-serve per­cent­age and posted 11 aces to none for Zverev . . . .

David Goffin reached a sec­ond straight Ja­pan Open fi­nal and will meet Adrian Man­nar­ino, who beat top-seeded Marin Cilic in Tokyo.

Goffin won a tense base­line bat­tle with Diego Schwartz­man, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6). Man­nar­ino won, 6-7 (7-5), 6-4, 6-0, for his first vic­tory against a top-five op­po­nent.

The vic­tory ex­tended Goffin’s win­ning streak to eight matches, in­clud­ing four last week in Shen­zhen, China, where he won his first ti­tle in over three years. PRO BAS­KET­BALL

Con­nie Hawkins, a daz­zling New York play­ground leg­end who soared and swooped his way to the Hall of Fame, died Fri­day. He was 75.

His death was an­nounced Satur­day by the Phoenix Suns, the team with which he spent his most pro­duc­tive NBA sea­sons in a ca­reer de­layed for years by a point-shav­ing scan­dal that led to the league black­balling him, even though he was never di­rectly linked to any wrong­do­ing.

The Suns did not dis­close the cause of his death. Hawkins, who lived in the Phoenix area, had been in frail health for sev­eral years and was di­ag­nosed with colon can­cer in 2007 . . . .

Dallas Mav­er­icks guard Seth Curry is out in­def­i­nitely af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with a stress re­ac­tion of his left tibia . . . .

The At­lanta Hawks waived guards John Jenk­ins and Jor­dan Mathews. GOLF

PGA Tour rookie Tyler Dun­can parred the 18th hole for a scram­bling 1-un­der-par 71 to main­tain a one-stroke lead af­ter three rounds of the Safe­way Open.

Dun­can, whose only pre­vi­ous PGA Tour event was the 2015 U.S. Open, had five birdies and four birdies to reach 14-un­der 202 in the sea­son opener at Sil­ver­ado

Re­sort and Spa. Ches­son Hadley, a one-time PGA Tour win­ner who had a course-record 61 in the sec­ond round, was a stroke back af­ter a 70.

Bud Cauley shot 66 to join de­fend­ing cham­pion Bren­dan Steele (72) at 12 un­der . . . .

De­fend­ing tour­na­ment cham­pion Tyrrell Hat­ton opened a five-shot lead head­ing into the fi­nal round of the Euro­pean Tour’s Al­fred Dun­hill Links Cham­pi­onship in St. An­drews, Scot­land.

A bo­gey-free 7-un­der 65 put Hat­ton in a com­mand­ing po­si­tion to de­fend the ti­tle he won by four shots last year. Af­ter open­ing with a 68 on the Old Course on Thurs­day, he fol­lowed that with a 65 at Carnoustie and matched that mark at Kings­barns to go to 18 un­der. Gre­gory Bourdy was his clos­est chal­lenger at 13 un­der af­ter a 66. MISC.

Cham­pi­onship leader Lewis Hamil­ton se­cured pole po­si­tion for For­mula One’s Ja­panese Grand Prix, lead­ing a 1-2 ef­fort for Mercedes driv­ers in Suzuka.

Hamil­ton posted a lap-record time of 1 minute 27.319 sec­onds to fin­ish 0.332 ahead of Valt­teri Bot­tas. Hamil­ton’s ti­tle ri­val, Se­bas­tian Vet­tel, was third, but the Fer­rari driver will move up to sec­ond af­ter Bot­tas’s penalty for an un­sched­uled gear­box change. Bot­tas will drop to sev­enth in Sun­day’s race . . . .

Maria Paseka of Rus­sia suc­cess­fully de­fended her vault ti­tle at the world gym­nas­tics cham­pi­onships, edg­ing Amer­i­can Jade Carey at Olympic Sta­dium in Mon­treal.

Kenzo Shi­rai of Ja­pan, a gold medal­ist in the team event in the Rio Olympics, won the men’s floor ex­er­cise by more than a full point ahead of Artem Dol­go­pyat of Is­rael. Amer­i­can Yul Moldauer was third.

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