WTA Beijing: Halep breaks Sharapova curse, cruises into last eight

Simona Halep secures long-awaited win over Maria Sharapova

Simona Halep secures long-awaited win over Maria Sharapova

Halep, now ranked No 2, defeated the unseeded Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-1 to close in on the top spot held by Garbine Muguruza.

She will become the 25th world No 1 since the WTA was formed.

Halep climbed to the number one spot after thrashing Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets in the semi-finals of the China Open.

Asked by AFP what those were, she smiled: "I tell you one, only one: to win a Grand Slam, which you know".

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

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The Romanian beat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4 to make her way into the final where she will face the victor of Petra Kvitova and Caroline Garcia.

Simona Halep claimed her first win in eight meetings with Maria Sharapova at the China Open to avenge her US Open loss.

She displayed an nearly flawless play in Beijing, where back in 2012 she lost to Sharapova in two sets. I'm really happy that I could do this.

Yet Halep was able to quickly regain the initiative on this occasion and said: "I didn't think too much that I am again in the same position".

While Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov headline the men's final four in Beijing, the women actually have the bigger event there - $1.271M to the women's victor vs $652K to the men's!

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She will face France's Caroline Garcia, who beat Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-3 7-5, in Sunday's final.

"She was hitting the ball consistently, not making a lot of unforced errors, her service percentage was quite high".

Third seed Elina Svitolina defeated in-form Australian Ashleigh Barty 6-4 6-2.

Kvitova, who produced 33 winners offset by 43 unforced errors, said she was exhausted but very happy with the victory, and will meet Caroline Garcia in the last four.

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